TOWARD THE FLAME: A War Diary by Hervey Allen

TOWARD THE FLAME: A War Diary

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Published originally in 1925, now reissued in new format with sixty odd line sketches by Lyle Justis that have successfully caught the essential spirit of the text. Hervey Allen wrote this diary largely as a long letter from the hospital in France, immediately following the experiences described; he finished it while the war was still photographically stamped on his consciousness in 1919. The period covered is July and August, 1918, the drive from the Marne to the Vesle, in the district in and around Chateau Thierry, Fismes, Fismettes. An intensely personal and intimate picture, which gives in graphic detail the story of the daily -- and nightly -- round, how they lived and died. A book that richly deserves permanent life. E. S. McCawley, of Haverford, writes as follows of his own experiences with the book: ""When I first came across TOWARD THE FLAME in 1925. Hervey Allen as a writer had not been heard of by more than a few; but since he was an old, old friend I ordered the book out of sentiment. I can remember now the thrill that it gave me to read of his experiences, for our paths and parted in 1910, and, except through occasional letters, had not crossed. I had read avidly every book available on the war, and I felt that Hervey's book ranked with the best, a distinct contribution to the war literature. As a personal narrative it ranks with UNDER FIRE by Barbusse; THROUGH THE WHEAT of Thomas Boyd; and FIX BAYONETS by J. W. Thomason. Allen served with the infantry in the 28th Pennsylvania Division and was wounded in the defence of Fismettes. The title refers to the flame throwers, so vividly described in the final paragraph of the narrative"". Don't buy -- or sell -- this on the basis of ANTHONY ADVERSE. Buy and sell it -- because it is a splendid picture of the war, convincingly written.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1934
Publisher: Farrar & Rinehart