Goodbye to All That

Robert Graves

Penguin 1960 [1929]
A book review by Danny Yee © 1993
Written in 1929 when Robert Graves was only 33, Goodbye to All That can hardly be described as a full autobiography; the reader after an account of Graves' later life and the background to his historical novels must look elsewhere.

It begins with an account of his English public school education and concludes with a description of the post-war years (including a stint teaching in Cairo), but the bulk of the autobiography deals with Graves' service in the army during the First World War. This must rank as one of the most outstanding first-hand accounts of that war in English; while it lacks the moral vision of some of his compatriots' poetry — he was a friend of Siegfried Sassoon and knew Wilfred Owen — Graves' insight into the psychology of life in the trenches is unsurpassed. Also of interest are his descriptions of, and relationships with, other notable people, from the climber George Mallory to T.E. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy.

Goodbye to All That should be read by anyone interested in the personal side of the First World War, as well as by those interested in Robert Graves himself. It is also a "rattling good yarn" — it is as readable as any of his novels — complete with entertaining anecdotes, so it should have widespread appeal.

December 1993

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%T Goodbye to All That
%A Graves, Robert
%I Penguin
%D 1960 [1929]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0140274200
%P 282pp, 8pp b&w illus.