Good-Bye to All That: An Autobiography

Good-Bye to All That: An Autobiography


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In this autobiography, first published in 1929, poet Robert Graves traces the monumental and universal loss of innocence that occurred as a result of the First World War. Written after the war and as he was leaving his birthplace, he thought, forever, Good-Bye to All That bids farewell not only to England and his English family and friends, but also to a way of life. Tracing his upbringing from his solidly middle-class Victorian childhood through his entry into the war at age twenty-one as a patriotic captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, this dramatic, poignant, often wry autobiography goes on to depict the horrors and disillusionment of the Great War, from life in the trenches and the loss of dear friends, to the stupidity of government bureaucracy and the absurdity of English class stratification. Paul Fussell has hailed it as ""the best memoir of the First World War"" and has written the introduction to this new edition that marks the eightieth anniversary of the end of the war. An enormous success when it was first issued, it continues to find new readers in the thousands each year and has earned its designation as a true classic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385093309
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1958
Series: Anchor Books Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 195,670
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.92(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Graves (1895–1985) was a poet, novelist, and critic. His first volume of poems, Over the Brazier (1916), reflects his experiences in the trenches, and was followed by many works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. He is best known for his novel, I, Claudius (1934), which won the Hawthornden and James Tait Black Memorial prizes, and for his influential The White Goddess (1948).

Paul Fussell is the author of 15 books, including Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War and The Great War and Modern Memory, which won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named by the Modern Library as one of the twentieth century’s 100 best nonfiction books. He taught literature for many years at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife.

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Good-Bye To All That 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
. See ISBN 9781571810229 for the excellent original text! Despite the annotation, ISBN 9780385093309 is his mediocre rewritten version where he seems to have forgotten Laura Riding, ya know?
lmichet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Th particular edition I happened to read first was the heavily-edited 1957 edition-- the one with all the saucy angry bits removed. I recommend the earlier edition-- I think it is the 1929 edition-- with the angry bits left in. That's really why you should want to read this book: it's the sourest, bitterest, and ultimately one of the most humorous and human personal testaments the Great War that anyone can find anywhere.The book was written in a series of 'scenes'-- episodes highlighted by Graves where the most ludicrous things happen as if on a stage for our personal enjoyment. I have read an article by literary historian Paul Fussell about this, and I have to agree with him: it makes for an engrossing and highly entertaining read. Graves has a way of taking himself and those around him so unseriously, and yet with so much undiluted rage, that we understand him fully and really begin to believe that we can feel what he feels-- which, of course, we can't, because we've never been in the First World War. When Graves sits in enraged silence in a ludicrous officers' mess and tells himself in gleeful rage that he'll outlive them all, the self-absorbed upper-class bastards, we thrill along with him-- but when he returns to find that they have all actually died, it's even better. The scenes were he tangles with despicable authorities, where he faces the morbidly hilarious misreporting of his own death, where he outlines in delicate irony the absurdities of his upbringing, and even in the end of the book, where we coast along with him toward the slow conclusion in a bewilderingly odd hiatus as a professor in Egypt-- and, better yet, have a chance to read his students' term essays-- these scenes are priceless, deftly-formed treasures. The book is one enormous smouldering gem.I, Claudius has been one of my favourite novels for many years. This book earns a place up there with it-- Graves is spectacular, and the ungentlemanly grimace with which he communicates this outrageously mauled life of his is an achievement of narrative that really shouldn't be passed up. I read it for a term paper on the presentation of authority in soldiers' narratives, and read it alongside many other classic accounts from the Great War. This one is, undoubtedly, the best-- certainly in the English language, anyway. I prefer it enormously to All Quiet on the Western Front, which, next to Graves' frankness and wit, now seems a bit silly and juvenile. Graves never goes in for melodrama and misery the way Remarque does, with his caricatured conversations and his heavyhanded messages. Graves tells you what he thinks, tells it well, and then entertains you as far as he can without letting that essential feeling go. He writes with one eye on his hated oppressors and one eye turned back sadly at himself. It's fantastic.
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Robert Graves writes of his life up to 1929, when he abandoned England to live in Majorca. The core of the book is his experiences in the trenches of the Western Front, as an officer of an infantry company. He describes some of his school days, and describes the dissolution of his friendship with Siegfried Sassoon, and his marriage after the war. The trench experience is clearly the deepest and most affecting part of the book. I read this after the novel Birdsong, a book that clearly took much of its detail from Graves' experiences.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It strikes me as interesting and perhaps a bit sad that Robert Graves is better known today for his Augustan era historical novels (I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 (Vintage International) and Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina) and this memoir than he is for his poetry. Not that I give two farthings for his poetry (The Complete Poems (Penguin Modern Classics)) - I don't read poetry, never have liked it, and have next to no interest in it (my loss, I'm sure), but Graves' poetry was clearly vitally important to his self perception. In this volume, Graves relates the story of his life up to about to 1928. The chapters about his upbringing and life in an English public school hold the reader's interest, but the only real reason to read this book are the chapters that recount his experiences in World War One. In Graves' telling the trench warfare was every bit as horrific as you have probably read elsewhere. He provides insights into the way the class structure carried over to the army. Graves also explains (or at least demonstrates) the sense of duty that not only kept men in the trenches, but kept them willing to fight as well, when refusal and mutiny seem the only rational response. His life after the war bears some interest for literary historians, but not much for anyone else. The book soon begins to wonder across the page before finally drifting into pointlessness. Worse, Graves' is not entirely honest because he omits to mention his extramarital relationship with the poet Laura Riding; not that I care about the affair, but if he was going to burden the reader with a description of his period in Cairo, he ought not to have omitted the interesting bits. The omission is odd inasmuch as he did not shy away from a description of the public school as a virtually mandatory course in buggery. The Anchor edition has an introduction by Paul Fussell that adds considerable value to the volume. The tone of my review is probably more negative than strictly necessary. I certainly highly recommend the book, but the quality is uneven. If you begin to lose interest after Graves' begins to readjust to postwar life, you can safely put the book down and know that you aren't missing much. Graves wrote `Goodbye to All That' primarily to make ends meet (after first failing to write the story as a novel) and at times it is a slapdash affair. Nonetheless, the worthwhile parts make the book mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in World War One.
datrappert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brilliant, seemingly honest, and very bittersweet autobiography, written when Graves was still fairly young. Famous mostly for its harrowing depiction of World War I in all its horror, but also in its day-to-day ordinariness. Lets you understand just a little bit why men like Graves and Wilfrid Owen went about their duty despite their perception of the pointlessness of what they were doing. At least Graves lived to tell the tale and to write some more brilliant books.
captkrulin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Close to, if not the BEST war novel/autobiography I've read. Gripping, funny, upsetting, not dated especially if you've ever experienced military life. There is no glossing over the stupidity of war nor the tenacity of the human spirit.
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graves depicts WWI as he experienced it in the trenches on the western front. Through his first-hand account we see the horrors of gas and rotting corpses along with the monotony of war.
orchid314 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A darkly funny, acid book in which Robert Graves chronicles his life up to and including his time spent as an infantry officer in the trenches at the Western Front. The best memoir of WWI imo.
FARIEQUEENE More than 1 year ago
War is brutal and unforgiving, and Graves emphasizes the shock and stark contrast between what he and his comrades believed the war would be like and how WWI actually turned out to be... a trench riddled mess of death and destruction. Graves illustrates his own personal war experiences with fervor and tact, I loved the book.
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Robert Graves writes down the first part of his life in this book, from his days in Britain's public school system through the trenches of the First World War and through the aftermath to Egypt. The focal point of the book is his time in the trenches, where he sees hundreds of men dying for pitiful gains, this cynical look at the war describes the means the soldiers and officers used to survive the emotional stress they encountered in the trenches.