SIEGFRIED SASSOON, CBE, MC (1886–1967) was an English poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, Sassoon is best remembered for his angry and compassionate poems of the First World War, which brought him public and critical acclaim.
Avoiding the sentimentality and jingoism of many war poets, Sassoon wrote of the horror and brutality of trench warfare and contemptuously satirized generals, politicians, and churchmen for their incompetence and who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war.
Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his "Soldier's Declaration" of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital; this resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen, who was greatly influenced by him.
Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalized autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston Trilogy".
Looking back over Sassoon's long literary career, Peter Levi wrote in Poetry Review:
"One can experience in his poetry the slow, restless ripening of a very great talent; its magnitude has not yet been recognized. He is one of the few poets of his generation we are really unable to do without..."