Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Jerusalem, War, Fun

Just a thought about Simon Sebag's Montefiore's Jerusalem, or a line within, where he writes:

Few soldiers, few novelists have captured the fun of war like Usmah. To read him is to ride in the skirmishes of Holy War in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He gloried in his battlefield anecdotes of derring-do, devil-may-care cavaliers, miraculous escapes, terrible deaths and . . . spurting blood.

I'm not sure how much firsthand experience of the fun of war Montefiore has had - a quick look seems to reveal his previous professional life outside of writing to consist of banking - but anyway, whatever his experiences, how refreshingly old school not to yield to the wilting and joyless sanctimonies of the present, and instead not just apologise for war as an occasionally necessary evil but actually celebrate the Boys Own fun of it all. Hurrah!

I wonder if in the bounteous remainder of the book that awaits me whether I will come across as similarly liberating an expression as:

Few men, few novelists have captured the fun of rape like - . . . 

Mass-rape being of course, along with the obvious thrills of things like dismemberments and less obvious ones like mass-starvation, always a pretty inevitable attendant to the great fun-filled wars that have comprised and lit up the great canons of that which we are pleased to call History. Not of course that I am in any way saying the generally incidental phenomena of rape should expect to be considered on any kind of par with the more historically relevant thrills and glories as hacking off of limbs and heads and the like.

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