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A very English hero

Peter Conradi

An untold story of love, idealism and courage in the Second World War.

Gentle, modest and handsome, a fine poet, proficient in nine languages, eccentric Englishman Frank Thompson made an unlikely soldier. The elder of two sons of a formidable family of writers, lover of Iris Murdoch, he was an intellectual idealist, a rare combination of brilliant mind and enormous heart. Despite his mother's best efforts, and the Communist Party line, in September 1939 Frank enlisted. Serving first with the Royal Artillery, then Phantom, finally moving to SOE, he documented his wartime experiences. He wrote prodigiously, letters, diaries and poetry, the best of which, the much anthologised 'An Epitaph for my Friends' gives a taste of what English poetry may have lost when in June 1944, aged 23, Frank was captured, tortured and executed in Bulgaria. A dictionary he was carrying once stopped an enemy bullet and saved his life; a volume of the great Roman poet Catullus was found on him after his death: Frank fought a 'poet's war'. His letters still read fresh and alive today, his journals retain a startling intimacy - and it is from these that Peter J. Conradi brings to life a brilliantly attractive and courageous personality, a soldier-poet or scholar-soldier of principle and integrity: a very English hero from a very different era.

Soft cover, 336 pages.