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Not So Quiet: Stepdaughters of War

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Not So Quiet: Stepdaughters of War.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Helen Smith(Author)

    Book details


Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for its "furious, indignant power," this story offers a rare, funny, bitter, and feminist look at war. First published in London in 1930, Not So Quiet... (on the Western Front) describes a group of British women ambulance drivers on the French front lines during World War I, surviving shell fire, cold, and their punishing commandant, "Mrs. Bitch." The novel takes the guise of an autobiography by Smith, pseudonym for Evadne Price. The novel's power comes from Smith's outrage at the senselessness of war, at her country's complacent patriotism, and her own daily contact with the suffering and the wounded.

"A powerful condemnation of war and the societies that glamorize it." --Kirkus

3.2 (5576)
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Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 300 pages
  • Helen Smith(Author)
  • Feminist Press at The City University of New York; New ed of 1930 ed edition (1 Jan. 1989)
  • English
  • 9
  • Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Karyn Burnham on 22 October 2014

    Not So Quiet... is the fictional, but autobiographical account of the author, Helen Zenner Smith's experiences during the First World War. It is one of the most uncompromising, unflinching accounts for the First World War I have ever read. Perhaps made all the more startling by the fact that it is a woman's experience of life at the front.'Smithy' is a volunteer ambulance driver, living and working in close quarters with other women volunteers, she ferries wounded men from ambulance trains and casualty clearing stations to various hospitals. There is no false nobility in her account; the men are shattered and in pieces, both literally and metaphorically and 'Smithy' herself is brutally affected by horror and by her endless, exhausting daily routines under the iron hand of 'Mrs Bitch' the commandant who regularly doles out unnecessary punishment to the exhausted, traumatised women.This novel affected me greatly, partly I think because it surprised me so much. It is far removed from the traditional, noble 'daughters of England' representations of women in war and much closer to the reality of war writing that has been associated with the likes of Robert Graves and Seigfried Sassoon. I don't understand why this work is not read alongside accepted 'important' war writing, because it deserves its place up there and deserves a much wider readership than I suspect it currently gets.

  • By Skorpio_166 on 4 July 2017

    A very interesting and eye-opening read. A shame that it ends so abruptly though as I could quite happily have read more.

  • By Emily Bell on 4 March 2015

    Was a bit graphic considering this is meant to be a childrens book, but I liked it. Some parts were a bit tedious but overall was pretty good.

  • By PG Tips on 26 July 2017

    Great value and fast delivery. Many thanks

  • By Martin, Glos on 30 June 2013

    Recommended to me as great study of an ambulance driver in the Great War - well written and I, in turn, would recommend it unhesitatingly.

  • By Michele on 14 December 2000

    Helen Zenna Smith is the pseudonym of Evadne Price who served as an ambulance driver in France during the FWW. This totally compelling fictionalised account of a woman's experience of the War should be ranked alongside E. M. Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front', Siegfried Sassoon's 'Memoirs of an Infantry Officer' or Edmund Blunden's 'Undertones of War'. The value of the experiences of women who saw active service during the FWW are beginning to be recognised in academic circles thanks to the work of feminist critics, but it is time that such recognition came from the general public as well, and this book is one of many that is capable of bringing those experiences to wider attention. A wonderfully written book that is worth reading. Highly recommended !!


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