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Other titles in the Nonpareil Books series:
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
This is a reprint of the middle book in an autobiographical trilogy by English poet and screenwriter Laurie Lee (1914-1997). Set between Cider with Rosie and A Moment at War, the memoir, first published in 1969, recounts Lee's journey in 1935 from his childhood home in Slad, Gloucestshire to London and then on to Spain where he supported himself by playing the violin and became embroiled in the Spanish Civil War. It includes a map of Spain and a brief note from the author dated 1995. Nonpareil is an imprint of David R. Godine. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"I was nineteen years old, still soft at the edges, but with a confident belief in good fortune. I carried a small rolled-up tent, a violin in a blanket, a change of clothes, a tin of treacle biscuits, and some cheese. I was excited, vain-glorious, know¬ing I had far to go; but not, as yet, how far."
Despite this romantic and optimistic opening, what Lee finds is the most primitive and feudal country in Europe, a peninsula untouched by the modern world, a land of labor without dignity, a church devoid of compassion, and a country ripe for revolutionary change.
There is humor, love, and adolescent awakening, but beneath is a foreboding sense of a savage future, a premonition that a war will come. For Lee, 1936 was the end of innocence, when "it was being learned again that men needed more than courage, anger, slogans, convictions, or even a just cause when they went to war." Thus Lee becomes entangled in the passionate, violent, and bloody struggle that was the Spanish Civil War.
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