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Regeneration Paperback – May 3 1994
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Regeneration, one in Pat Barker's series of novels confronting the psychological effects of World War I, focuses on treatment methods during the war and the story of a decorated English officer sent to a military hospital after publicly declaring he will no longer fight. Yet the novel is much more. Written in sparse prose that is shockingly clear -- the descriptions of electronic treatments are particularly harrowing -- it combines real-life characters and events with fictional ones in a work that examines the insanity of war like no other. Barker also weaves in issues of class and politics in this compactly powerful book. Other books in the series include The Eye in the Door and the Booker Award winner The Ghost Road. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
In 1917, decorated British officer and poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote a declaration condemning the war. Instead of a court-martial, he was sent to a hospital for other "shell-shocked" officers where he was treated by Dr. William Rivers, noted an thropologist and psychiatrist. Author Barker turns these true occurrences into a compelling and brilliant antiwar novel. Sassoon's complete sanity disturbs Dr. Rivers to such a point that he questions his own role in "curing" his patients only to send them back to the slaughter of the war in France. World War I decimated an entire generation of European men, and the horrifying loss of life and the callousness of the government led to the obliteration of the Victorian ideal. This is an important and impressive novel about war, soldiers, and humanity. It belongs in most fiction collections.
- C. Christopher Pavek, National Economic Research As socs. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In an era when treatment of mental illnesses was often barbaric, (as in a memorable scene near the book's conclusion), Rivers' treatment plan is to cure with compassion and respect for the patient. He allows these men the freedom to work through their experiences instead of repressing them. In doing so, he takes some of their suffering onto himself, and is changed in the process. The give and take between doctor and patient is the real meat of the story.
But beyond the plot, there's a lot to think about in this novel. In fact, the real genius of this work is not the plot or the characters or the setting, but rather the seemingly endless array of serious ethical questions that crop up as these men struggle with their situations. Was Britain justified in going to war against Germany? Can war ever be moral? Who is responsible for the actions of nations? Do soldiers abdicate their moral responsibilities when they don the uniform? How can a doctor cure a patient's infirmity only to send him back to the front lines to die? How does this apply to conscientious objectors? Is it enough to treat symptoms when the underlying causes are psychological?Read more ›
The First World War was the seminal catastrophe of the 20th century [not my phrase]. Pat Barker has tried to explore some of reasons why the previous sentence is true. Class differences and conflicts, the emerging important roles of women in society, the rise of psychological therapy, the incredible ambiguities regarding wartime male relationships and homosexuality are all part of her narrative and the world within the book covers. In no way can these matters be handled broadly or in depth in a tale of 250+ pages but that she can weave them all in with superb writing is testament to an excellent novelist.
It was a pure enjoyment to read about WW1, an often forgotten war in the literary world in my own opinion. I was previously unaware to the full extent of the shock and revulsion of trench fighting that the soldiers had to endure. It seems virtually impossible to leave that situation psychologically untouched. REGENERATION contains many horrific scenes that remain with the reader long after the book is put down. Another intriguing aspect of this book concerns the fact that it is a mixture of fact and fiction. Characters such as Siegfried Sassoon and Dr. Rivers existed in real life, although Barker did perform some literary liberties in writing this book. REGENERATION is a book that was difficult to put down. The unique plot grabbed me and held my attention. Although there were many scenes of graphic violence I felt it was an integral part of the plot. It enabled the reader to get a glimpse of what these soldiers endured in the trenches. A well done accomplishment.
Most recent customer reviews
Real people experiencing real things and the horrors of war. Well written; a great read!!!!! * * * * *.Published 17 months ago by Michael Anthony
When the First World War broke out, most people assumed it would be over in a few months as their nation (whichever one that was) sent the others packing. Read morePublished on March 13 2008 by Donald Mitchell
Absurdly overrated, and I am wondering what kind of bigwig muckety-muck connections Ms. Barker has in the publishing industry which allows for such mediocre material to receive... Read morePublished on June 3 2004
This is definately my favourite book! From the minute i picked it up, i did not want to put it down. I was surprised by its content and found it utterly compelling. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2003 by Phoebe
I wanted to like this book. I can't say that I didn't try. But after the first hundred pages or so, I still could not get interested in the book. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2003 by A
This book deserved the praise it has received. It is horrifying at times and incredibly clear-eyed about the situation the characters find themselves in. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2003 by Carper
Barker's novel is a most impressive anti-war novel, wonderfully written and meticulously accurate in its characters' psychoanalysis. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Thomas Dignazio
Pat Barker's magnificent trilogy is not only a profound contribution to our literature on the First World War - it is also one of the most distinguished works of contemporary... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2002 by Steven Reynolds