The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965
I'll Soldier No More
I'll Soldier No More. M. K. Joseph's I'll Soldier No More, 1958, is about everyday life in the Army, without heroics, excitement, or too much blood. Joseph follows a group of soldiers through their page 82 behind-the-lines training, with its intolerable boredom, to France and then to occupied Germany. This is a balanced, quiet book, mature, sensible, and bitter. Joseph is concerned more to recapture the atmosphere of war than to reveal individual character. He renders well its normality within abnormality, its film of surface decency over personal tensions. But because the central topic of the book is ordinary men busy at ordinary life even within the circle of the Army, interest tends to be dissipated over too many persons and happenings, none of them exciting. It cannot be said that this novel avoids the trap of being dull because it is about a dull war. Interest is diffused over a series of short episodes, but there is a most striking prologue. I'll Soldier No More is valued highly by those who knew the life M. K. Joseph describes.