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Pierre Loti

Book Overview: 

Pierre Loti [Julien Viaud] was a French naval officer and novelist. The present book is one of his few works of non-fiction, a small collection of letters and diary entries that describe his views and experiences in the wars and military operations in which he participated. Besides World War I, he also sheds light upon his views and involvement in the preparations for the Turkish Revolution of 1923, for which until today a famous hill and popular café in Istanbul are named after him.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .s, who risked their lives in the midst of falling bombs in their attempt to save these unhappy wretches, whom their own German brothers had not even thought to spare. Yet they did not succeed in saving all; some remained and were burnt to death in the nave, leaving unseemly clots of blood on the sacred flagstones, where formerly processions of kings and queens had slowly trailed their ermine mantles to the sound of great organs and plain-song.

"Look," said my guide, showing me a [Pg 65]wide hole in one of the aisles, "this is the work of a shell which they hurled at us yesterday evening. And now come and see the miracle."

And he leads me into the choir where the statue of Joan of Arc, preserved it may be said by some special Providence, still stands unharmed, with its eyes of gentle ecstasy.

The most irreparable disaster is the ruin of those great glass windows, which the mysterious artists of the thirteenth century had piously wrought in medit. . . Read More