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Rupert Brooke was one of a group of British Edwardian war poets who wrote about war in a manner that emphasized the brutality of life in the trenches. Like the U.S. Civil War, World War I was distinguished by an extremely high death rate, as much from disease as fighting conditions. In fact, Brooke himself died not in battle, but of blood poisoning while he was in transit on a naval ship. Brooke is ambivalent about war in the poem. In part, he, like many of the other young men who went to war, was caught up in the excitement of the action at the start of the war, but this initial enthusiasm waned in face of the reality of trench warfare and the high death toll.
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