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A laughing boy exploded into unidentifiable gobs of flesh - I believe Pat Barker has said about the WW1 more essential things than any historian ever has or ever will. Obviously she hadn't said everything or even every important thing but far more than mere historians can. Just as obviously - and most often for all I know - a work of fiction can say far less than a solid work of historiography. But the exceptions do blow the competition away. A concern with the study of history has always remained with me and I still find it odd how little this subject has been seriously analyzed. I would presume that the best explorations would be works of fiction, not of philosophy.