SASSOON, Siegfried. Memoirs of an Infantry Officer. London: Faber & Faber, 1931.
8vo., original pictorial vellum, top edge gilt, else uncut; pictorial end papers; housed in a matching card slipcase; with frontis and an additional 15 coloured illustrations within the text by Barnett Freedman; pp. 310, [ii]; essentially a fine copy, with just the odd spot; the jacket with some small nicks and creases to corners, edges and head/foot of spine, which is also ever-so-slightly faded; slipcase rubbed to extremities and with some repaired cracks; nonetheless still a very clean copy of a very scarce edition.
First edition with Barnett Freedman's illustrations, this being No. 220 of 300 special copies numbered and signed by both Siegfried Sassoon and Barnett Freedman.
Memoirs of an Infantry Officer was one of Barnett Freedman's first major commissions for Faber and Faber, though he would go on to be quite prolific, designing dozens of covers for editions of Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and Leo Tolstoy. At the outbreak of the WWII he was appointed as an Official War Artist, and travelled with the British Expeditionary Force in France alongside Edward Ardizzone and Edward Bawden, whose influences are evident in his designs. In June 1944 he travelled to France to record the aftermath of the D-Day Landings.
The narrative of Sassoon's second work in the Sherston trilogy is, like its predecessor, a fictionalised account of Sassoon's life during and immediately after WWI. Sherston, the protagonist, is wounded when a piece of shrapnel passes through his lung after he incautiously sticks his head over the parapet at the Battle of Arras in 1917. Sasson later wrote that Sherston "is but one insignificant person caught up in events beyond anyone's comprehension".Harman, 2001.