He published only one small book of poems before he died in 1915 aged 21. It was on St. George's Day and he was on his way to Gallipoli . He was a charming and good looking young man and very gifted. He is revealed here as having suffered mental illness, and having fathered a lovechild in Tahiti. His beautiful poetry has endured as the voice of a country torn apart by war.
Rupert Brooke, strikingly good-looking, charming and gifted, has for many become the embodiment of a generation that was all but wiped out between 1914 and 1918. The legend was largely brought about by the words of one of his sonnets: 'If I should die, think only this of me/That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.' The poem, and all that it represented, became the focal point of a nation's grief for its lost youth. Brooke died in April 1915 on board a ship in the Aegean Sea, en route to fight at Gallipoli. Walter de la Mare, D.H. Lawrence, John Masefield and Siegfried Sassoon all sang the praises of the poet that Yeats had considered 'the handsomest young man in England'. Churchill wrote his obituary for The Times and declared, 'We shall never see his like again...' In Forever England, Mike Read explores Brooke's life, from schooldays to the Great War, and in so doing builds a remarkable picture of a long-lost England and a generation's descent into war. Brooke's poems emerge dramatically from a tangled web of love, friendship, mental illness and politics. He reveals also the existence of a previously unrecorded love child from a South Seas romance.