Literature

Heroes and Unheroes of War

It is strange how topics for novels run with the zeitgeist of a butterfly’s wing. These last few years readers and viewers have had special themes—Second World War notebooks, love, the Thai-Burma railway, and civilian responses to the Second World War. Five recent novels, one biography and three films can fit into these categories. Some have been awarded prizes, others overlooked. Overall, there has been a challenging interest in wartime heroics and the unheroic individual. But the search for stories with notebooks and provenance would suggest writers and readers are looking for the authentic. The six books: • Nicholas Shakespeare,…

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