Company K published today

“March’s book has the force of a mob protest; an outcry from anonymous throats. It is the only War-book I have read which has found a new form to fit the novelty of the protest. The prose is bare, lucid, without literary echoes.”
— Graham Greene

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of America’s entry into World War One, today Apollo is publishing William March’s stunning novel Company K. First released in 1933 and written by a decorated army hero, Company K is an unforgettable and visceral account of the lives of 113 soldiers that reflects the true realities of war.

March’s masterpiece is Apollo’s lead spring title, part of its ongoing literary mission to restore remarkable books for a new generation of readers. Too many great works have been lost, and Apollo is finding the ones that got away.

In Company K, March revolutionised the way war was portrayed. The novel’s short vignettes – flashes of the lives of individual men who fought along with the author – depict war unsparingly, describing it at the height of disorganisation and aggression. From initial training, through to the trenches in France and post-war rehabilitation, March layers the individual voices of each soldier. He explores the dehumanising brutality of killing and the isolation of minds that have been scarred by the horrors of combat.

Ernest Hemingway admired Company K’s raw and unsentimental prose, but wrote in 1942 that he felt it too radical to include in his collection Men At War. Today, the novel is crucial to war literature; historian Philip Beidler calls it “the American World War One book.”

About the author: William March (1893–1954) was a writer and highly decorated US Marine, recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre for courage during World War 1. March volunteered in 1917, and was sent to France where he took part in every major engagement in which American troops were involved. Returning as a war hero, March suffered periods of depression and anxiety as a result of PTSD. March’s short stories won the prestigious O’Henry awards four times, but it was his final novel The Bad Seed which won March significant commercial success, published the year before he died.

About Apollo: Apollo’s crucial mission is to seek out the lost books that ought to be found. A rich list of titles has been comprised by distinguished critic, poet and editor Michael Schmidt, in conjunction with Head of Zeus editorial director Neil Belton. The team is determined to restore remarkable books that in some cases were never properly published in these islands even in their first incarnation. With good books, it is never too late.

 

PRAISE FOR COMPANY K

“A rich novel...the outstanding virtues of March’s work are those of complete lack of sentimentality and routine romanticism, of a dramatic gift constantly heightened and sharpened by eloquence of understatement.”
— New York Times
“A sardonic minor masterpiece on World War I, ... Company K observes all the antiheroic conventions of the between-wars decades; yet author March was himself a Marine Corps noncom wounded three times, who won a D.S.C., Navy Cross, and Croix de Guerre, and had every right to the bitter pity with which he wrote his novel. Among its 113 characters, every military-type is represented - the good soldier, the coward, the goldbrick, the rank-happy shavetail, the lucky, and the wound-prone. Each is caught in one lurid moment of his life, as if March had composed by the light of a Very pistol.”
— Time
“The outstanding virtues of Mr. March’s work are those of complete absence of sentimentality and routine romanticism, of a dramatic gift constantly heightened and sharpened by the eloquence of understatement. Your first impression is that of the ultimate ‘low-down.’ Here is the thing as it was, as the man in the ranks saw it.”
— Saturday Review of Literature

 

PRAISE FOR APOLLO

“Apollo, the newly-launched imprint of independent publisher Head of Zeus, will dig up and dust down forgotten works of fiction and make them available to a new generation of readers”
— Sunday Herald
“The Apollo choices have been masterful. The list is thought-provoking, eye-opening, inspired and inspiring”
— The Big Issue
“[Josephine] Johnson belongs to the tradition of Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson.”
— New York Times

For all media enquiries please contact Annabel Robinson or Rebecca Watson at FMcM Associates on 0207 405 7422 or email annabelr@fmcm.co.uk / rebeccaw@fmcm.co.uk