Aftermath: Travels in a Post-War World

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In 1953, Farley Mowat, a Canadian infantryman during World War II, returned to Europe, a place he knew only during the ravages of wartime. Together with his wife, he returns to England, France, and Italy to reexamine the past and find hope in the future. This is a unique and compelling look at a world that has undergone dramatic changes in the last fifty years, described in vintage Farley Mowat style.
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Overview

In 1953, Farley Mowat, a Canadian infantryman during World War II, returned to Europe, a place he knew only during the ravages of wartime. Together with his wife, he returns to England, France, and Italy to reexamine the past and find hope in the future. This is a unique and compelling look at a world that has undergone dramatic changes in the last fifty years, described in vintage Farley Mowat style.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1953, Mowat Never Cry Wolf, who had been a soldier in the Canadian army, returned to see the France and Italy he had known only under wartime conditions. He relates how he and his wife, Frances, bought a car in England and drove through both countries, where he was astonished to be welcomed as a returning war hero. Savoring scenes both familiar and changed, the couple avoided tourist centers, sought out quiet places and relished local histories, architecture, landscapes and, above all, the regeneration of people who had put their wartime suffering behind them. Among his memorable discoveries, Mowat recalls the little pottery commune in an Italian seacoast cave near Positano where, without modern technology, the craftsmen and their families lived and worked, taking pleasure in ancient methods of refining and working clays; and, farther along the road, a fishing village where the fishermen limited their catches to what they and their neighbors could eat to avoid overfishing and thus preserve an age-old way of life for their children. Although time must now have changed much of what Mowat found, this is a disarmingly upbeat and gracefully written memoir. Sept.
Kirkus Reviews
Part travelogue, part war memoir, this insubstantial, disjointed reminiscence succeeds as neither.

In 1953, buoyed by a book advance, Mowat (Born Naked, 1994, etc.) and his wife, Frances, returned to Europe to revisit some of the battlefields where he and his fellow Canadians had fought during WW II. Clearly, he was a witness to enormous suffering and carnage, so much so that eight years later the wounds were still painfully fresh. He describes recoiling in disgust from the few German tourists he encountered and keeping away from sites where the bad memories would be too overwhelming. Much of the book, in fact, is an anti-memoirish ellipsis, even avoidance, of the past. While one doesn't begrudge Mowat this reluctance, it does give a strained, unfulfilling quality to the writing. In fact, there seems to be so much that he doesn't really want to remember, one wonders why he wrote this book at all. His war is much better described in his letters home, collected in My Father's Son (1992). As for Mowat the traveler, large parts of this book are all too reminiscent of a neighbor's endless back-from-vacation slide show: a large bolus of barely digested detail. Mowat does shine, however, in his depiction of the natural world. His descriptions of the resiliency of nature—and even man—are particularly moving, as again and again he finds new life reappearing on even the most devastated battlefields. Ducks return to a firing range, ponds form from bomb craters, saplings sprout in shell-torn mud. Here, in the constancy and strength of nature, Mowat finds a grain of hope against human folly.

An unsatisfying ramble, salvaged by a few striking passages.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811733380
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books
  • Publication date: 7/10/2006
  • Series: Farley Mowat Library
  • Pages: 239
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Farley Mowat is one of the world's foremost nature writers and conservationists. He is the author of 39 books, including Never Cry Wolf, Sea of Slaughter, and The Snow Walker. He and his wife, Claire Mowat, divide their time between Ontario and Nova Scotia.
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