The occasion for these essays by eminent survivors is the fiftieth anniversary of the armistice of the First World War. The forty-two contributors--some of whom literally went from the playing fields of Eton (but more often, Oxford) to the trenches--document here the now familiar ""feeling of futility"" that is said to have been born in this war. The editor, an Englishman who teaches at the University of Maryland, describes this ""realization that, in the end, little had been gained, much had been lost."" But the writers often try to present a hopeful outlook, particularly Robert Graves, whose legacy from the Great War was ""not only an unsurpassable standard of danger, discomfort, and horror by which to judge more recent troubles, but a confidence in the golden-heartedness and iron endurance of my fellow countrymen. . . which even the laxity of this new plastic age cannot disturb."" Mostly Britishers (with a few Frenchmen, Americans and one Italian), the contributors include Edmund Blunden, L. P. Hartley, Gerald Brenan, C. E. Carrington, Sir Geoffrey Keynes, G. Wilson Knight, and Alec Waugh. Mainly reminiscences (but some interpretive pieces--Liddell Hart on strategy, Pierre Renouvin on public opinion), these essays use surprisingly various approaches. Infrequently sentimental and generally incisive.