One of many post-World War I memoirs published in the 1920’s, Robert Graves’s Good-Bye to All That became an extremely popular account of a British soldier’s grueling struggles in the horrendous trench warfare so many Allied soldiers endured during their battles against the Germans. Reading Graves’s book almost a century later remains a great reading experience. The brutal trench warfare remarkably comes alive with all its shelling, endless days of waiting for a German attack, the blood-soaked fighting and the wonderful comradery that grew under these awful conditions.
This was Graves’s first book and established him as an esteemed author. Good-Bye to All That begins with Graves writing about his family, education, and his early desires to write poetry in the pre-war years. Once his army service was over, Graves spent time teaching English literature in Cairo’s Royal Academy for a few years. Once Good-Bye to All That was published and became a great success, Graves was in the financial position to move to Majorca and become a full time writer. And, he went on to gain international fame as a writer.
Good-Bye to All That is highly recommended for its realistic writing style which so wonderfully makes Graves’s World War I trench warfare experiences unforgettable. Aside from his war experiences, Graves’s memoir is a delightful retelling of a childhood in early 20th Century Britain.