Great Silence Paperback – Aug 23 2010
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A small treasure-house of a book from a writer who understands the vital importance of small details." (The Guardian)
“A triumph of balance and organization... Nicolson writes with admirable pace and fluency...a study which comprehends the cultural and the intellectual, the political and the social, and weaves them all into a lively and convincing narrative.” (The Spectator)
“Nicolson has created a compelling impressionistic portrait of a country struggling to make sense of the sacrifices that had been made. Filled with anecdote and human detail, The Great Silence becomes a moving study of Britons finding ways, individually and collectively, to recover from the terrible wounds the war had inflicted.” (Sunday Times)
About the Author
Juliet Nicolson is the author of THE PERFECT SUMMER. She has written for the Daily Telegraph, Vogue, Evening Standard, The Spectator and The Guardian. She has two daughters and lives in Sussex and Kent at Sissinghurst.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
First of all, there is the issue of organization and theme. Nicolson's anecdotes of life after the war, interesting in themselves, are strung together one after the other, with rarely a chronological or thematic link to tie them together. The anecdotes are formed into chapters with vague and misleading titles which do not progress towards the distillation of any theme or thesis. By the end of the book, the reader is left with the sense of having heard a multitude of fascinating voices, but without the guiding hand of an editor to turn the cacophony into purposeful music.
Secondly, there is the issue of sources. Nicolson's material is undoubtedly drawn from a wide variety of sources, and her discussion of the artificial limb and facial reconstruction work after the war is a bright spot of thorough research and discussion. But in other instances, she neglects to provide any context for her information. She relates the tale of Diana Cooper's post-war adventures in great detail, but does not give any indication of how she fit into the broader spectrum of post-war upper-class society.
And finally, there is the question of style. Personally, I found Nicolson's writing to be difficult, her wording full of redundancies and her syntax convoluted. While this is purely a subjective aesthetic concern, it made this reader's experience that much less enjoyable.
With "Silence", Nicholson has returned with a meticulously written view of the two years in England after the end of "The Great War" in 1918. British soldiers returned after demob to their homes but in many cases, their lives would never be the same after four years in the trenches in France. So many men - who had marched gaily off to war in 1914 - had been killed or badly wounded, both in body and in spirit. So many women lost their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers. An entire generation of young men were decimated in the four years of war.
Nicholson writes about all strata of British society, both "above" stairs and "below" stairs. Some of the people she interviewed were children in 1919 and are alive today. She also relied on written histories, both personal and academic. All together, Nicholson takes the reader back to that two year post-war period that saw the beginnings of the "Roaring '20's" with a national obsession for dancing and drinking by all levels of society. She also writes about the toll the "Spanish Flu" had on those at home who caught it from returning soldiers.
Nicholson is a very good and controlled writer. This book is not yet available in the States and I had to order it from Amazon/UK. It is a wonderful look at a very interesting time in British society.