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Regeneration

regeneration

A brilliant weaving of fact and fiction, Regeneration follows anthropologist and psychiatrist William Rivers at Craiglockhart Hospital, where he works on the neurasthenic stutters, nightmares, nervous ticks and hallucinations of the shell-shocked officers. It is here where he meets a highly-decorated but disillusioned Siegfried Sassoon and a young magazine editor Wilfred Owen—two poets who would go on to be the immortal chroniclers of the trenches.

Sassoon’s incorrigible probity enlists Rivers to help him return to France and to his men. Rivers learns of the purgatorial “no man’s land,” he learns of the swollen dead, black and green and rotten, thrown in heaps to reinforce the trench walls and despite the loathing and the terror he is unable to exculpate himself for not being part of it. By healing the officers, he sentences them to mud and to death. Rivers confronts the duplicitous nature of his work and is plagued by a psychological conflict that forms the backdrop on which the horrors of the trenches are rendered.

A highly compelling read.

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