His writing at Field Punishment No. 1 is an invuluable contribution to our understanding of Canada's Great War literature. I've never met a more dogged researcher.
Now Acland's novel finds a home with Dundurn's Voyageur Classics, where it joins The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, Wyndham Lewis'Self Condemned and other unjustly neglected books from our past. Thanks go out to Series Editor Michael Gnarowski, who recognized the importance and terrible beauty of this, Acland's only novel.
I never imagined that my name would one day share a cover with that of Ford Madox Ford, but there it is. A better man than I, the last words on the novel should be his:
When I read of the marching and fighting towards the end of the book, I feel on my skin the keen air of the early mornings standing to, I have in my mouth the dusky tastes, in my eyes the dusky landscapes, in my ears the sounds that were silences interrupted by clicking of metal on metal that at any moment might rise to the infernal clamour of Armageddon… Yes, indeed,one lives it again with the fear and with the nausea… and the surprised relief to find oneself still alive. I wish I could have done it myself: envy, you see, will come creeping in. But since I couldn't, the next best thing seems to me to be to say that it will be little less than a scandal if the book is not read enormously widely. And that is the truth.