Forward, Children! (Illustrated)

Forward, Children! (Illustrated)

by Paul Alexander Bartlett

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Overview

Forward, Children! is a gripping anti-war novel. It brings vividly back to life the experience of WWII tank warfare as it was fought and endured by soldiers in the tank corps. The novel is also a story of love in French Ermenonville, where Rousseau lived during the last period in his life and was buried.
The title Forward, Children! comes from the opening line of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem (Allons, enfants de la patrie). Forward, Children! is a novel that was long in the making. Paul Alexander Bartlett completed the first manuscript of Forward, Children! in the years before the outbreak of the second world war. He had been deeply affected by the first world war, by the horrors and suffering it caused. Wishing to bring to readers a convincing and powerful first-hand experience of that war, he portrayed in the first version of Forward, Children! the hardship and terror of tank warfare as it had been conducted by the American Expeditionary Forces Tank Corps during World War I.
Renowned English novelist, poet, and critic Ford Madox Ford thought highly of Forward, Children!, and shortly before his death devoted a large part of an essay published in the Saturday Review of Literature to praise for the novel, urging its publication.
"Forward, Children! ... is the projection of the life of a fighting soldier in the A. E. Tank Corps in France. It is so to the life that for some days after reading it, the writer's nights were rendered heavy by the return of the lugubrious dreams that for years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles attended on his slumbers. When you read Forward, Children! you are in a tank crawling amidst unspeakable din and unthinkable pressure up the sides of houses, and down the banks of dried-up canals, crashing through the walls of factories.... [I]f not on artistic grounds then at least for the public weal this book should be published and widely circulated."
Ford Madox Ford died two weeks after this essay was published in 1939. In the subsequent years, with the attention of the world now fixed on WWII, Bartlett decided to rewrite Forward, Children! to portray tank warfare in the ongoing world war. He had already become knowledgeable about tank warfare in the first world war and he now researched the conditions and accounts of tank fighting in the second. As a result, Forward, Children! builds on the author's attempt to stand in the combat boots of the tank soldiers of both world wars and conveys to the reader an account of their experience with unforgettable realism.
Forward, Children! was ironically never published during the author's life, despite the strongest commendations the work received not only from Ford Madox Ford, but also from John Dos Passos, who remarked: "Praise from Ford Madox Ford is praise indeed. The descriptions of tank warfare are vivid and as far as I know unique. This is a very, very good novel."
Russell Kirk added his admiration for the novel: "Permit me to commend Forward, Children! The novel attains a pathos rare in war novels. The scenes of battle are drawn with power. Bartlett is an accomplished writer." Pearl Buck, Nobel Laureate in Literature, wrote: "He [Bartlett] is an excellent writer. Forward, Children! is an excellent piece of work, with fine characterizations."
Upton Sinclair wrote: "I found Forward, Children! extremely interesting and convincing. I think it is one of the best descriptions of fighting I have ever read. In fact, I can't remember any account of tank fighting in such detail and [which is so] convincing." James Purdy remarked: "Forward, Children! ranks with the best books--its anti-war message is inescapable. It is an important book and [Bartlett is] an important writer."
Forward, Children! eventually came to interest a small press in war-scarred Korea; in 1998, the press published the book in a limited edition that has reached few readers. To remedy this, the author's literary executor has decided to re-publish the book in open access form as an eBook to be made freely available to readers through Project Gutenberg.
Whatever the obstacles have been that so often stand in the way of authors, and that plague the world of publishing, after many, many decades it is time for Forward, Children! to reach its readers.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148205371
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 288 KB

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