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A Very English Hero


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An untold story of love, idealism and courage in the Second World War

About the Author

Peter J. Conradi became interested in Frank Thompson while researching his critically acclaimed Iris Murdoch: A Life, the authorised biography. He is also the author of The Saint and the Artist, a study of her novels and thought; of critical studies of Dostoevsky, Angus Wilson and John Fowles; and, most recently, Going Buddhist and At the Bright Hem of God. He lives in London and Radnorshire where he gardens, walks, edits the Radnorshire Transactions and chairs the Bleddfa Trust. He was elected FRSL in 2011.


A very moving account of the all-too-brief life of a warrior-poet * Antony Beevor *
Intensely absorbing, steeped in human interest and peppered with outlandish characters ... Thomson's niece is quoted as saying that this account of his death unites him more firmly with the common stream of humanity, "where people are still being shot in ditches every day". Conradi's inspiring book persuades us that its unassuming, generous-hearted hero might have agreed * The Sunday Times *
Impeccably researched ... A fine description of the biographer's role, and generous quotations from Frank Thompson's letter and poems recreate his bulky, restless, energetic presence. But it is Conradi's own more subtle presence that locks the reader into the narrative ... A pensive, moving and very personal book * Frances Wilson, Observer *
An elegy for a lost generation, and a fascinating social and political history of a peculiar period in our recent past ... it's impossible to put down Conradi's impressive and moving account of Thompson's life without a feeling of regret. The figure who emerges from these pages is engaging, passionate and noble ... he was the epitome of a rare and precious type of distinctly English hero **** * Simon Griffith, Mail on Sunday *
[An] excellent, absorbing biography ... Mr Conradi tells the true story, movingly and well ... He convincingly portrays an attractive, brilliant and courageous personality, an intellectual with a heart who loved laughter, an idealist who merits the title of this book * Economist *
[A] magnificent and tragic biography * Jewish Chronicle *
Moving and gripping, told with great lucidity and sympathy ... a story of heroic times and hopes * Margaret Drabble *
He has painted a compelling portrait of a generation that is slipping from memory into history as irreversibly as that which went into the war in 1914 ... a generous and perceptive rescue of a personality and talent that Thompson's friends could never forget ... [a] moving portrait * Spectator *
Inspiring * The Sunday Times 'Must Reads' *
Excellent * Independent *
Frank Thompson's life is extraordinarily well documented in his voluminous correspondence, poetry and diaries and in those of his family and friends. With his habitual diligence, Peter Conradi creates a vivid image of his world, at home, at Oxford and at war * Jane Shilling, Scotsman *
Conradi writes well and gives is a judicious and balanced portrait of the age. Frank Thompson would have appreciated that * Literary Review *

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