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Fragments From France   By: (1888?-1959)

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Fragments From France by Bruce Bairnsfather is a remarkable collection of sketches and humorous anecdotes that provide a unique and poignant perspective on the realities of World War I. Written and illustrated by an artist and soldier who experienced the conflict firsthand, this book offers a raw and unfiltered glimpse into the life of a soldier on the Western Front.

Bairnsfather's sketches are the true gem of this book. Executed with exceptional skill and attention to detail, they capture the essence of the war with a blend of wit, satire, and empathy. From the monotony of trench life to the absurdity of daily routines, each drawing reflects the artist's ability to find humor and optimism amidst the harsh realities of war. The simplicity of his illustrations belies their power, as they convey profound emotions and experiences that words alone could not capture.

In addition to the artwork, Bairnsfather's accompanying text further enhances the reader's understanding and connection to the war. His anecdotes provide a vivid description of the challenges faced by soldiers, the camaraderie between them, and the grim sense of duty that permeated their lives. Moreover, Bairnsfather's writing is infused with a subtle sense of irony and dark humor, making even the most distressing aspects of war strangely relatable.

One of the book's outstanding features is its authenticity. As a participant in the war, Bairnsfather's vignettes are drawn from personal experience, offering a rare insider's view of the conflict. The authenticity of Fragments From France allows readers to develop a genuine empathy for the soldiers and a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices they made.

While the book primarily focuses on the experiences of British troops, its themes transcend national boundaries. Bairnsfather's messages of humanity and resilience resonate with readers of any background, reminding us of the shared humanity that unites people even in the midst of war.

The only minor setback of the book is that it sometimes lacks a cohesive narrative. Fragments From France is organized as a collection of individual sketches and anecdotes, resulting in a somewhat fragmented structure. Yet, this minor flaw does not overshadow the overall impact of the book nor its ability to engage and draw readers into the world of the trenches.

In conclusion, Fragments From France is a compelling and highly evocative book that sheds light on the often overlooked human aspects of World War I. Bruce Bairnsfather's sketches and anecdotes portray the war with a poignant combination of humor, empathy, and authenticity. For anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the human experience during times of conflict, this book is a must-read. It serves as a timeless reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity.

First Page:

By Bruce Bairnsfather

Bullets and Billets

Fragments from France

A Few Fragments from His Life






G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK AND LONDON The Knickerbocker Press 1917


By the Editor of "The Bystander."

[Illustration: W]HEN Tommy went out to the great war, he went smiling, and singing the latest ditty of the halls. The enemy scowled. War, said his professors of kultur and his hymnsters of hate, could never be waged in the Tipperary spirit, and the nation that sent to the front soldiers who sang and laughed must be the very decadent England they had all along denounced as unworthy of world power.

I fear the enemy will be even more infuriated when he turns over the pages of this book. In it the spirit of the British citizen soldier, who, hating war as he hated hell, flocked to the colours to have his whack at the apostles of blood and iron, is translated to cold and permanent print. Here is the great war reduced to grim and gruesome absurdity. It is not fun poked by a mere looker on, it is the fun felt in the war by one who has been through it.


Captain Bruce Bairnsfather has stayed at that "farm" which is portrayed in the double page of the book; he has endured that shell swept "'ole" that is depicted on the cover; he has watched the disappearance of that "blinkin' parapet" shown on one page; has had his hair cut under fire as shown on another... Continue reading book >>

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