|Title:||The Middle of the Road|
|Publisher:||George H. Doran Company|
The Middle of the Road is strongly recommended to anyone interested in the state of Europe after the Great War – despite the fact that it’s not a very good novel.
It begins where Back to Life ended. The earlier novel was a reporter’s-eye-view of the War’s untidy end, just about fictionalised, and reflecting the period’s uncertainties and cruelties. (Gibbs takes the reader to places that other novels don’t touch – in Back to Life, for example, the violent shaving of the heads of Frenchwomen who had fraternised with Germans; I’ve not come across any other fiction of the period that deals with this painful subject.)
The Middle of the Road‘s central character is Bertram Pollard, an ex-soldier, awkwardly back home and feeling the distance between himself and his upper-class wife. She and her friends take a tough-minded attitude towards Sinn Fein in Ireland and Bolsheviks in the Trades Unions – shoot them. Bertram, meanwhile, is scrupulously aware of the other side of the question. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Gibbs, Philip
Sir Philip Armand Hamilton Gibbs (1 May 1877—10 March 1962) was an English journalist and prolific author of books who served as one of five official British reporters during the First World War.
A man of decidedly liberal views, Gibbs took an interest in popular movements of the time, including the suffragettes, publishing a book on the British women's suffrage movement in 1910. With tensions growing in Europe in the years immediately preceding 1914, Gibbs repeatedly expressed a belief that war could be avoided between the Entente and Central Powers. In the event, war broke out in August 1914 and Gibbs secured an early journalistic posting to the Western Front. It was not long before the War Office in London resolved to "manage" popular information about the war, partly by censorship of war reporting. Gibbs was denied permission to remain on the Western Front; he stubbornly refused to return but was duly arrested and sent home.
Gibbs was not long out of official favour, however. Along with four other men he was officially accredited as a war correspondent, his work appearing in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Chronicle. The price he had to pay for accreditation was to submit to effective censorship. He agreed, although unhappy with the arrangement. Gibbs' wartime output was prodigious. He produced a stream of newspaper articles and a series of books: The Soul of the War, The Battle of the Somme, From Bapaume to Passchendaele, and The Realities of War.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 brought Gibbs a renewed appointment as a war correspondent, this time for the Daily Sketch. This proved a brief stint however and he spent part of the war employed by the Ministry of Information. After the war he continued to write about the effects of the war in Europe. He passed away in 1962.
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