The story of a renowned French painter who volunteered for the Army during the First World War paints a vivid picture of the horror at the front in his letters home written before his death in 1915.
“A Bestseller, remarkable for the horrors of the western front conveyed in a spirit of self-sacrifice and filial love.”- A Companion to World War One ed. John Horne, Blackwell Publishing, 2012
“THE following letters were written by a young French painter who was at the front until the beginning of April, 1915, when he “disappeared” in one of the combats in the Argonne region of France. “Should he be spoken of in the present or in the past?” asks M. André Chevrillon , a friend of the soldier’s family, in the preface to the French edition of this book. “Since the day when his mother and grandmother received from him his last communication, a post card bespattered with mud which announced the attack in which he fell, what a tragic silence for these two women who, during eight months, had lived only with these letters, which came almost daily. In his studio, among the pictures in which this young man had fixed his dreams and his visions of an artist, I have seen, piously arranged on a table, all the little square white sheets of this correspondence. What a speechless presence! I did not know then what a soul was there transcribed in these messages to the family hearth - a fully formed soul, which, if it had lived, I feel sure would have spread its fame and its influence far beyond this little home circle and radiated a-wide among the hearts of men.””