“Goodbye to All That” is an autobiographical work by British author Robert Graves, published in 1929. This memoir is a powerful and candid account of Graves’ experiences during and after World War I, offering a firsthand glimpse into the harrowing realities of war and its profound impact on individuals and society.
The title of the book, “Goodbye to All That,” reflects Graves’ disillusionment with the conventions and values of the pre-war world and his sense of farewell to that era. In the book, Graves chronicles his upbringing in an upper-middle-class family, his education at public schools, and his decision to enlist in the British Army at the outbreak of World War I.
Graves vividly describes his wartime experiences as a soldier, including his time in the trenches on the Western Front. He provides a raw and unflinching portrayal of the horrors of war, from the constant threat of death to the physical and psychological toll it takes on soldiers. Graves also writes about the camaraderie among soldiers and the challenges they faced on and off the battlefield.
The memoir is not limited to his war experiences but also delves into his personal life, including his relationships, friendships, and his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (although the term was not used at the time) and his efforts to reintegrate into civilian society after the war.
“Goodbye to All That” is not just a war memoir; it is a reflection on the broader societal changes and cultural shifts that occurred in the aftermath of World War I. Graves’ narrative is marked by its honesty and critical examination of the values and institutions of his time.
The book had a significant impact upon its release and remains an important literary work that captures the disillusionment and trauma experienced by many soldiers of the “Lost Generation.” It is both a personal account of one man’s journey and a broader commentary on the profound changes wrought by the war.