Synopses & Reviews
From one of our most beloved, original authors, a classic book never before published in the U.S.—a personal meditation on war and remembrance.
Geoff Dyer has won fans writing about everything from jazz to D.H. Lawrence, from photography to neurotic enlightenment, from Cambodia to Rome. The Missing of the Somme, his remarkable book on the signifi cance of the First World War, is a gem for Dyer fans and history buffs alike. With his characteristic wit and insight, here Dyer weaves a network of myth and memory, photos and film, poetry and sculptures, graveyards, and ceremonies that illuminate our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.
"This instant classic first published in 1994 and now available in the U.S. by acclaimed British author Dyer (Otherwise Known as the Human Condition) presents an extended 'meditation' on the Great War's contemporary and historical meanings. Dyer was one of the first to interpret war in the context of the quest for 'memory and meaning' made familiar by Jay Winter and David Gregory. For the British, 'the war helped to preserve the past even as it destroyed it,' and provided a caesura between a stable past and an uncertain future. Dyer supports his point with an impressive survey of poems, letters, memoirs, and novels, combined with a perceptive analysis of British war memorials, and utilizing extensive citations. He concludes with an elegiac description of a peaceful, isolated Somme battlefield: 'where terrible violence has taken place the earth will sometimes generate an equal and opposite sense of peace.' Ironically, Dyer's contribution to making the Great War part of the Matter of Britain also helped transform the Somme into a center of tourism and pilgrimage, vulgar but vital. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Dyer's slim book, first published in Britain in 1994 and now published for the first time in the United States, derived from his visit to the Somme cemeteries, is about remembering and forgetting, of World War I's ensuing edifices, poems, art, discourse, graves, and how they are intertwined with British identity and memory. I followed a haphazard route of sites mentioned in The Missing of the Somme
, those within reach of my Waterloo hotel, to understand 'not simply the way the way war generates memory but the way memory has determined -- and continues to determine -- the meaning of war.'" Kerri Arsenault, Bookslut
(Read the entire Bookslut review
Geoff Dyer’s classic The Missing of the Somme is part travelogue, part meditation on remembrance—and completely, unabashedly, unlike any other book about the First World War. Through visits to battlefields and memorials, he examines the way that photographs and film, poetry and prose determined—sometimes in advance of the events described—the way we would think about and remember the war. With his characteristic originality and insight, Dyer untangles and reconstructs the network of myth and memory that illuminates our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.
About the Author
Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels, a critical study of John Berger, and five other books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle finalist. He lives in London.