War Horse author hits out at Britain’s treatment of its military personnel
WAR Horse author Michael Morpurgo says Britain has failed to learn many lessons from history.
The author and former Children’s Laureate, 69, saw his book about a horse caught up in the terrors of the First World War turned into a Steven Spielberg film.
He is about to see Private Peaceful, another of his novels set in the trenches, adapted for the big-screen.
He said: “To me, these soldiers in the First World War were sent off like cattle.
“In fact, the men were treated very much like the horses – which is one reason I think War Horse works so well. It was senseless. This wasn’t ‘a Hitler war’, it wasn’t about Britain’s survival.”
The writer, who decided that he would get involved in film versions of his books after finding that he could not “make inroads” into the big-screen adaptation of War Horse, added: “It’s always old men sending young men to war. I do feel we haven’t learnt very much from history.
“Now we wrap Union Jacks round the coffins of the dead. By and large, [the media coverage] shows the coffins coming home or the returning men marching in the street.
“What we still don’t see, what we still don’t really have in our faces, is what war does to bodies. They still don’t tell you the number of wounded. Which is huge.”
Morpurgo added: “When one or two [military veterans] get to the Paralympics, yes, it’s brave, it’s hugely courageous. But I’m also thinking of the ones who’ll just be lying there for ever and a day.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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