The Book Group: Sword of Honour

An edition looking back at Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy.

Stemming from his own wartime experiences, Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy consisted of three novels: Men at Arms, published in 1952, Officers and Gentlemen (1955) and Unconditional Surrender (1961). The novels follow aristocratic heir Guy Crouchback as he returns from Italy at the outbreak of the Second World War to join the Army, embarking on a series of military postings as chaos engulfs Europe. The trilogy saw Waugh develop many of his now familiar thematic concerns, such as tradition, family and Catholicism, explored in earlier works including Brideshead Revisited (1945).

Sword of Honour has been adapted twice for television, by the BBC in 1967, and for Channel 4 in 2001 (adapted by William Boyd and starring Daniel Craig as Crouchback). Both adaptations are available to view, alongside the invaluable three-part Arena profile The Waugh Trilogy (1987).

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