In the opening section of these related studies of modern literature, Bernard Bergonzi considers the poetry and fiction of two World Wars, including discussions of Wilfred Owen, Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero, Pat Barker's Regeneration, and the poetry of the Desert War of the 1940s.
The second section deals with a number of prominent twentieth-century authors.
Among other subjects, it looks at Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier as a novel anticipating the Great War, the treatment of memory in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, and aspects of the poetry of T.S.
Eliot, responding to arguments about its anti-semitism.
The final section is on Catholic writers, from Hopkins and Chesterton to Graham Greene and David Lodge. The book continues Bergonzi's extensive career as a critic and literary historian of the modern period, and takes a fresh look at the subjects of some of the earlier books, such as Hopkins, Eliot, Wells, and the literature of war.