Vessel of Sadness
"...a masterpiece" --The Irish Times, Dublin
"An outstanding piece of writing in which a thread of poetic vision runs through the stark realism of remembered experience in the Anzio beach-head. No one who reads it can fail to feel its impact and to be moved afresh by the senseless horrors of modern warfare." --Blackwoods Magazine
"A remarkable book indeed, bringing us close to the huge face of war ... a splendid reading experience." --J.B Priestley
"A picture of courage and futility of courage that somehow goes beyond courage and futility. To seize this in words makes the book a tour de force. Reading it is a memorable experience. --Arthur Wilson, Dartmouth College
"It is a superb book and a horrifying one. There is no contradiction in putting it that way ... this is a book from the master mold ... A noble book." --C.A.B. Eastern Daily Press
"Vessel of Sadness goes beyond sensation. It is an accusation." --Richard Church, The Guardian
"One of the most original, convincing and powerful stories about man and war that has ever been written.
Here, distilled from the experiences and observations of one who fought with them in a British infantry unit, is the mood of those who landed, fought and died at Anzio in the Second World War.
There are no heroes, no victories in the story, for this is faceless, nameless, fragmented war.
Vessel of Sadness is poignant, frightening and perceptive – its theme is universal.
It helps us to understand the nature of man in a world where there is as yet no alternative to the desolations of war."
(From the cover of the 1985 J. M. Dent & Sons edition)
published in Joint Force Quarterly (JFQ) Summer 1995