Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.
'I don't know what I am. But I do know I wouldn't want a f-faith that couldn't face the facts.' (p83)British society was very class conscious so it is ironic that all classes were forced to share the same trenches.
'. . . if I were going to call myself a Christian, I'd have to call myself a pacifist as well. I don't think it's possible to c-call youself a C-Christian and . . . and j-just leave out the awkward bits.' (p83)
"One of the paradoxes of the war -- one of the many -- was that this most brutal of conflicts should set up a relationship between officers and men that was . . . domestic. Caring. As Layard would undoubtedly have said, maternal. And that was the only trick the war had played. Mobilization. The Great Adventure. They'd been mobilized into holes in the ground so constricted they could hardly move. And the Great Adventure -- the real life equivalent of all the adventure stories they'd devoured as boys -- consisted of crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed. (p107)I found the following observation interesting because it relates war time mental breakdowns among men with those experiences by women during peace time:
"Pilots, though they did indeed break down, did so less frequently and usually less severely than the men who manned observation balloons. They, floating helplessly above the battlefields, unable either to avoid attack or to defend themselves effectively against it, showed the highest incidence of breakdown of any service. Even including infantry officers. This reinforced Rivers’s view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition. that would help to account for the greater prevalence of anxiety neuroses and hysterical disorders in women in peacetime, since their relatively more confined lives gave them fewer opportunities of reacting to stress in active and constructive ways. Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace."(p222)Some of the psychiatric treatment methods used a hundred years ago are more painful to read about than the battle experiences. It's pretty well summarized by the following quote where a doctor is summarizing his philosophy of treatment:
". . . The last thing these patients need is a sympathetic audience."(p228)Thus treatment methods include electrical shock and cigarette burns applied to the tongue.