'This is the only book from the Second World War comparable with the first-war narratives of Sassoon, Blunden or Graves . . . When the battle of El Alamein began, the poet Keith Douglas was in Cairo with Divisional HQ. Eager not to miss the action, he took a truck and, against orders, drove to re-join his regiment. He served as a tank commander throughout the whole of the allied advance across North Africa, and Alamein to Zem Zem (1946) is his story. Boyishness and inexperience give it flash-bulb immediacy . . . Scenes of unforgettable pity and terror unfold . . . Everything, from flowers carpeting the desert in winter to vanquished enemies, is seen with a poet's eye and the generosity of youth.' John Carey, GuardianThis Faber Finds edition of Keith Douglas's classic work - originally published two years after his death in Normandy in 1944 - includes a new preface by the novelist Richard Skinner.