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Synopsis

Under Fire was written by Henri Barbusse, this book was one of the first novels to be published about World War I. Although it is fiction, the novel was based on the authors own war experiences as a French soldier battling it out on the Western Front. Under Fire was also a French novel, but was then later translated into the English language.

The novel takes the form of journal-like anecdotes which the unnamed narrator claims to be writing to record his time in the war. The story follows a squad of French volunteer soldiers on the front in France after the German invasion, World War I. The novel takes place entirely in France. The anecdotes are episodic in nature, each with an individual chapter title. The best-known chapter is ""The Fire"", Le feu translated into French. It describes a trench assault attack from the Allied French trench across No-Man's Land (dead mans land) into the German trench.

Henri Barbusse was a French novelist and a member of the French Communist Party. He lived for 62 years after falling very ill with pneumonia he passed in 1935. In 1914, at the age of 41, he enlisted in the French Army and served against Germany in World War I. Invalided out of the army three times, Barbusse would serve in the war for 17 months, until the end of 1915, when he was permanently moved into a clerical position due to pulmonary damage, exhaustion, and dysentery from World War I. This is where scholars believe that Henri found his inspiration for the novel, in those life situations.

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