Born in Ledbury in 1878, John Masefield was apprenticed under sail before spending several years in the US. On his return to England he worked as a journalist for the Manchester Guardian and other newspapers, and his first poems were published at the start of last century. In 1911 The Everlasting Mercy was published and caused a sensation with its brutal realism; over the next two decades he established himself as a poet, playwright, novelist, and historian. He enjoyed the friendship of Robert Graves and Yeats, and was appointed Poet Laureate in 1930. He died in 1967. Constance Babington-Smith received the full co-operation and support of Masefield's family, and has access to many previously unpublished papers and letters. The result is a well-rounded and absorbing biography of one of the best-loved English poets, one whose reputation has been in the doldrums for far too long.