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Serpent's Tail, 2011 - Domestic fiction - 306 pages
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First published in 1930, Fear graphically describes the terrible experiences of soldiers during World War I. It tells the story of Jean Dartemont, a young bourgeois who is called up in 1915. He is not a rebel, but as an intellectual, he is less awed by hierarchical authority. After an exceedingly short training period, he refuses to follow his platoon and is sent to Artois in the trenches. With absolute realism, Gabriel Chevallier depicts what he experienced everyday, for months: violence, the blood, death, the bodies...'Is that what war is about?' the conscript wonders. 'Their war', thinks Jean, that of the high command big shots, the politicians far from the lines of combat. One day, he is wounded, evacuated and hospitalized. To the nurses, who consider it their duty to stimulate the soldiers' fighting spirit, Jean, when asked what he did at the front, replied: 'I was afraid'.

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User Review  - janerawoof - LibraryThing

Wow!! This one is an unrecognized classic of the military novel genre that should be better known! Jean Dartemont, the eager young Frenchman, joins the French army in 1915 against the Germans. He is ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A French novel originally published in 1930 suggests that war is hell, in any century, in any country.The first American publication of this novel—by a French author known mainly as a satirist ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Gabriel Chevallier was a French novelist widely known as the author of the satire Clochemerle, which was written in 1934, translated into twenty-six languages and sold several million copies. Born in Lyon, Chevallier was called up at the start of World War I and wounded a year later, but returned to the front where he served as an infantryman until the war's end. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. La Peur (Fear) first published in 1930 draws upon his own experiences and forms a damning indictment of the war. He died in 1969.

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