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Regeneration Paperback – May 3 1994

43 customer reviews

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Paperback, May 3 1994
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; Film & TV Tie-in ed edition (May 3 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140236236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140236231
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,565,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dave Deubler on June 11 2003
Format: Paperback
This first book in Barker's WWI trilogy is based on the real-life treatment of poet Siegfried Sassoon by psychiatrist and anthropologist Dr. William Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital. Sassoon has publicly denounced the war as a "senseless slaughter" and refuses to fight anymore. The powers that be assign him to Rivers' care as a victim of "shell shock" - a traumatic experience that leaves men unable to function. The hospital's aim is not so much to cure as to return men to active duty - an objective that leaves Rivers conflicted as doctor and a humanitarian.
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?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 14 2002
Format: Paperback
I have just finished "Regeneration" found the experience shattering. While Pat Barker misses some of the aspects/issues involved in masculinity or "being a man," her insights on the ambiguities and ambivalences are sensitive and valuable. Her understanding of the demands and effects of combat contribute to the themes and plot of this novel.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lesley Hastie on Jan. 16 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
pat barker is a great writer, one who is less known in canada than the UK. This book is one in a trilogy for which she was warded a Booker prize. The story is based on true stories about what is now known as PTSD but which in WW1 was not widely recognized. The story features Siegfried Sassoon and another venerated war poet, William Owen, in a fictional encounter in a rehab hospital in Scotland. While the two did not in fact meet there much of the story is factual and paints an unforgettable picture of the reality of life in the trenches and all that went with it, as well as the courage of those such as Siegfried who though suffering terribly mentally felt compelled to return to their companions in arms. There is some discussion too of the techniques for treating PTSD/shell shock. Pat barker deserves to be read more widely especially now, one 100 years since the start of WW1, lest we forget.
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By S. Calhoun on Nov. 13 2003
Format: Paperback
In the first book of Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, the reader is introduced into the psychological consequences of trench fighting during World War. Officers suffering from variations of the controversial shell shock syndrome were commissioned by the British Army to be treated at Craiglockhart, a military hospital outside Edinburgh, with the intention of healing them and sending them back to the front in France. REGENERATION follows a group of officers treated at Craiglockhart as they deal with the horrific events they have witnessed. There is no doubt that what these soldiers experience can disturb even the most strong-minded individual today. The principle psychiatrist is Dr. Rivers, who suffered from his own personal demons and war symptoms. He created strong friendships with many of his patients and cared dearly for their well being. Rivers is a complex, nuanced character. While he portrays an exterior of believing in the War, he holds an internal debate of the War's philosophical warrants.
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.
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