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The Flaming Crucible: The faith of the Fighting Men
BY ANDRE FRIBOURG
Cloth, 12mo, $1.50
Under the title Croire, this autobiography of a French infantryman was published in Paris in 1917. It is a revelation of the French spirit. It is rather a biography of the spirit, than an account of the amazing experiences M. Fribourg encountered, from 1911 at Agadir, through the fighting on the Meuse, and part of the campaign in Flanders. The descriptions are memorable for their beautiful style, their pathos or their elevation. There is a definite climax toward the end where M. Fribourg returns to a hospital in Paris, broken and dulled, his faith momentarily befogged. Gradually he readapts himself, regains and confirms his faith in the human spirit that was so vivid when he lived with his fellow soldiers.
“An autobiographical novel, which was a close competitor for the last Goncourt Academy Prize and which was seriously considered in connection with the recently awarded Grand Prix of the French Academy.”
“It emphasizes the benumbing monotony of the ‘life in a circle’ of billet and trench.”
“It portrays realistically, if a shade too methodically at times, the racking torments of hunger and thirst, the dreary importunity of the rain, the loathsomeness of the all-invading mud, the sickening horror of the carrion smells, the pathetically inadequate relaxations of the cantonments.”
“It dissects (a shade too scientifically and cold-bloodedly at times perhaps) the sentiments and emotions associated with attack and defence; the impulses that eventuate in heroism; the alternating super-sensitiveness and callousness of the nerves; fear and the mastery of fear; the ‘hope deferred that maketh the heart sick’; the devious stratagems of the terrible ‘cafard’ (blues).”
“It narrates dramatically the outstanding episodes; the perilous corvee of bringing up fresh supplies of cartridges, the digging of an advance trench under fire, the pinioning of a comrade suddenly seized with dementia.”
“All this, with sanity, simplicity, and sincerity and in a language of almost classical restraint, as a rule, but engagingly piquant and picturesque and fantastic even upon occasions.”—Boston Evening Transcript.
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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York
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