Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography by Max Egremont - review by Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones

Mad About The Boys

Siegfried Sassoon: A Biography


Picador 597pp £20

Siegfried Sassoon has received almost excessive biographical attention in recent years. First up was John Stuart Roberts’s pioneering life – which paid rather too much attention to the poet’s late conversion to Catholicism, at the expense of his crucial war experiences. Then came Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s exhaustive two-volume blockbuster.

Wilson’s double whammy had many merits: intelligent exegesis of the poems; honesty about Sassoon’s homosexuality; hugely detailed research. But, as with many doorstep-sized biographies, in the sheer accumulation of facts, and an almost day-by-day narration of the poet’s life, the wood was lost in the trees. Now Max Egremont arrives

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