By Keith Douglas
'This is the single publication from the second one global struggle related with the first-war narratives of Sassoon, Blunden or Graves... while the conflict of El Alamein begun, the poet Keith Douglas used to be in Cairo with Divisional HQ. keen to not pass over the motion, he took a truck and, opposed to orders, drove to re-join his regiment. He served as a tank commander during the complete of the allied strengthen throughout North Africa, and Alamein to Zem Zem (1946) is his tale. Boyishness and inexperience provide it flash-bulb immediacy... Scenes of unforgettable pity and terror unfold... every little thing, from plant life carpeting the desolate tract in wintry weather to vanquished enemies, is noticeable with a poet's eye and the generosity of youth.' John Carey, Guardian
This Faber reveals variation of Keith Douglas's vintage paintings - initially released years after his dying in Normandy in 1944 - encompasses a new preface via the novelist Richard Skinner.
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Additional info for Alamein to Zem Zem
In their smart royal-blue and scarlet caps. At first it did not occur to me to look and see who was cheering. When I did, the answer was not immediately apparent. For the first time, I realized that, except for the Diplomatic Corps, clustered in an uncnthusiastic group round the foot of the mausoleum, and some heavily guarded school-children about a quarter of a mile away on the far side of the square, there was no one there to cheer. All round the Red Square stretched a grim, silent line of security troops, blocking the entrances, extending into the neighbouring streets and down to the river, perched on the roofs of the surrounding houses.
It was quite clear that hers was the dominant personality in the neighbourhood. I noticed with pleasure that she still spoke Russian with a strong English accent. I asked her if she had had any trouble with the local authorities. ‘None to speak of/ she said. ‘They keep trying to make me give up my English nationality. But I tell them not to be silly/ Later on she took me to see the cemetery, a sad little place, hidden away on the outskirts of the town, which she had cared for and tended for the best part of twenty years, fighting a never-ceasing battle against weeds, stray dogs, hens and marauding Soviet children.
For the first two days there was little change in the landscape. We travelled southwards at a leisurely pace through green, fertile country to Kharkov, and then dirough the eastern Ukraine to Rostov-on-Don. Even the towns we passed through seemed familiar — like Moscow on a smaller scale, the onion-shaped domes of the Middle Ages mingling incongruously with the solidly ornate official and industrial style of the nineteenth century and the utilitarian austerity of the modern After Rostov the railway crosses the Kuban Steppe, the home of the Kuban Cossacks, bom cavalrymen, descended from the Cossack garrisons sent by the Tsars in the eighteenth century to guard what were then the frontiers of the Empire against the inroads of marauding tribes.
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