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The Wet Flanders Plain was first published in 1929 – also the year of, inter alia, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Graves’s Goodbye to All That, and Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Henry Williamson’s book stands alongside those works as a classic of the Great War.
In 1928 Williamson revisited the battlefields of Flanders and Northern France in the company of a fellow veteran. He wanted to ‘return to my old comrades… to the brown, the treeless, the flat and grave-set plain of Flanders – to the rolling, heat-miraged downlands of the Somme – for I am dead with them, and they live in me again.’ He hoped to rid himself of the ‘wraiths’ of the war. Whether or not he succeeded, he produced an unforgettable testament.
‘The Wet Flanders Plain emerges from the mass of War books as the most beautiful and the most terrible.’ Outlook
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