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Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man

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The independent-minded quarterly magazine that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. His life is filled with cricket in the summer and hunting in the winter, and the book is all about the colourful characters he meets and various amusing anecdotes. So uncertain was he of the wisdom of this move that he elected to publish Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man anonymously. Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), one of the major First World-War poets, was exceptionally courageous on several occasions and in consequence was decorated for his bravery.

Most of all, he lambasts himself: "The mental condition of a young man who asks nothing more of life than twelve hundred a year and four days a week with the Packlestone is perhaps not easy to defend.First Edition thus, on laid paper, free endpapers lightly browned as often; original blue buckram, gilt backs, gilt tops, uncut, backstrips lightly sunned (but all gilt wholly bright and legible), a very good, bright, clean set.

It is in this context that, while on leave in England, Sherston ponders what has become of his life stating simply: “…I began to realize that my past was wearing a bit thin.Funny because Sassoon wants it to be, not because he is lapsing, DH Lawrence-style, into absurd nature-fetishism. It was widely bruited about that animal welfare was just a smokescreen for a more sinister attack on country life by the urban classes. This changes with the death of his friend Dick Tiltwood, who is based on Sassoon’s friend David Cuthbert Thomas. It won both the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, being immediately recognised as a classic of English literature. Sassoon's friendship with Robert Graves author of Good-bye to All That ( 5 stars) is of great interest.

An uncommon copy of Sassoon's classic tale, with a particularly intriguing blurb 'This is fiction, but with a difference for the author, who wishes at present to remain anonymous, has lived himself the life of his hero. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian 'However inhumane its purpose it was a kindly country scene' … A fox-hunt in West Sussex.There was a moment when I suddenly realised that there was a great deal more going on than was immediately apparent on the surface. There is a nostalgic cast to this book that would normally be cloying to me, but I found it balanced by the dread I felt anticipating what was to come in the last 50 pages of hte book - Sherston's mobilisation to France in the first total war the world suffered, and which his generation were blithely unprepared for, their heads full of duty, bravery, glory.

While I enjoyed the first section, it didn't grab me - it was a calm meandering from hunting meet to hunting meet, from a quiet life to brief flurries of activity on a horse.Nowadays in the UK fox hunting is only permitted in a modified form, but in the 80s and 90s it was a very divisive political issue. George Sherston is a university drop out without a job who has no intention of working or going back to Cambridge. The Flower-Show Match", an account of an annual village cricket match – an important fixture for those involved – in which young Sherston plays a significant part, was later published separately by Faber as a self-contained story. Previous owner's inscription (To Mike, Welcome Home) on front free end paper with some blotting to inside cover. Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual.

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