In a recent Guardian interview, Radiohead lead guitarist Johnny Greenwood named Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour as his favorite audiobook. He says he was introduced to Waugh’s work by reading Clive James, who he credits with helping him complete his education which was interrupted by demands of the band. His favorite book is James’ Poetry Notebook.
Here’s what he says about Sword of Honour:
It’s the sardonic view of army life that appeals to me most – “was this the already advertised spirit of Dunkirk? He rather thought it was…” I secretly rate this trilogy higher than Brideshead, and of all of Waugh’s put-upon heroes, Guy Crouchback is my favourite, forever doing “the right thing” and getting nowhere. I’m confident that this is exactly what army life was like for many in the second world war: chaos masquerading as order, and everywhere hypocrisy and humbug.
The quote is from volume 1 (Men at Arms) in the scene where Guy has denied the request of one of his men for leave to attend a dance contest. The request was made at the time of the unit’s emergency assignment to defense duty in the wake of the evacuation from Dunkirk.