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Men at War: What Fiction Tells Us About Conflict, from the Iliad to Catch-22

Christopher Coker

21 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1849042896 / ISBN 13: 9781849042895
Published by C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Men at War: What Fiction Tells Us About ...

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

Since Achilles first stormed into our imagination, literature has introduced its readers to truly unforgettable martial characters. In Men at War Christopher Coker discusses some of the most famous of these fictional creations and their impact on our understanding of war and masculinity. Grouped into five archetypes - warriors, heroes, villains, survivors and victims - these characters range across 3000 years of history, through epic poems, the modern novel and one of the twentieth cen- tury's most famous film scripts. Great authors like Homer and Tolstoy show us aspects of reality invisible except through a literary lens, while fictional characters such as Achilles and Falstaff, Robert Jordan and Jack Aubrey, are not just larger than life; they are life's largeness - and this is why we seek them out. Although the Greeks knew that the lovers, wives and mothers of soldiers are the chief victims of battle, for the combatants, war is a masculine pursuit. Each of Coker's chapters explores what fiction tells us about war's appeal to young men and the way it makes - and breaks - them. The existential appeal of war too is perhaps best conveyed in fictional accounts, and these too are scrutinised by the author.

Review:

'...a fascinating study ... War still provides the most potent myths, and writers continue to be fascinated by it, just as they are by war's effect on the individual. In just 300 pages, Christopher Coker provides an unusually rewarding feast of perceptive analysis.' --Antony Beevor, The Telegraph

'... an exciting book. ...It serves as a timely reminder of everything that is good about reading fiction.' --War on the Rocks

'This thoughtful analysis of the great characters of war literature has an insight or new perspective on every page. I read it in one sitting, the whole time feeling that I was in the hands of a master teacher.' --Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

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