The Good Soldier

A Tale of Passion

Cover image for


Author: Ford Madox Ford
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 75,201 / 210 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73.5
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 6,777 2656

A chronicle of the tragedies in the lives of two seemingly ''perfect couples'' whose lives are far from perfect, this novel was loosely based on two real-life incidents of adultery and on Ford's own messy personal life.

Show Excerpt

as permitted the mind of men to frame. Where better could one take refuge? Where better?

Permanence? Stability? I can't believe it's gone. I can't believe that that long, tranquil life, which was just stepping a minuet, vanished in four crashing days at the end of nine years and six weeks. Upon my word, yes, our intimacy was like a minuet, simply because on every possible occasion and in every possible circumstance we knew where to go, where to sit, which table we unanimously should choose; and we could rise and go, all four together, without a signal from any one of us, always to the music of the Kur orchestra, always in the temperate sunshine, or, if it rained, in discreet shelters. No, indeed, it can't be gone. You can't kill a minuet de la cour. You may shut up the music-book, close the harpsichord; in the cupboard and presses the rats may destroy the white satin favours. The mob may sack Versailles; the Trianon may fall, but surely the minuet--the minuet itself is dancing itself away into


Average Rating of 5 from 3 reviews: *****

Excellent character study that examines two troubled marriages that end in tragedy. The style of the book feels very modern as the story is told in a non-linear way. Small tidbits of info about the tragedies are given sporadically throughout the narrative, which adds to the overall suspense of the plot. I couldn't put this book down until I found out what happened to these people.


Heartbreaking, cynical, funny, rich and strange. Ruth Rendell in the Guardian UK: "Ford Madox Fordís The Good Soldier is my favourite novel. I first read it in the 1950s and have read it about 20 times since. Itís possibly the best-constructed book in the English language."


This novel is truly a modern masterpiece. In structure it's a fusion of Henry James and Graham Greene's _The End of the Affair_. In tone, it's reminsecent of a WW1-era Jane Austen.

The story is exceptionally well-constructed and slowly changes, as you read it. It's full of twists and turns and revelations. But it's basically a quiet, though dramatic, story. Highly recommended.

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