Still, I'm much happier here, really in it than I've been for an age. People don't hate much at the front; there's no one to hate, except the poor devils across the way, whom they [the French soldiers] know to be as miserable as themselves. They don't talk hypocritical bosh about the beauty & manliness of war: they feel in their souls that if they weren't cowards they would have ended the thing long ago—by going home, where they want to be. And lastly and best, they don't jabber about atrocities—of course, everyone commits them—though about one story in a million that reaches our blessed Benighted States is true.
John Dos Passos (1896–1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. letter, Aug. 29, 1917, to his friend Rumsey Marvin. The Fourteenth Chronicle: Letters and Diaries of John Dos Passos, ed. Townsend Ludington (1973).
Written while at the western front near Verdun during the First World War.