An image for the first volume of the Hanlin Trilogy, The Ceremony of Innocence
|Downtown Hartford Connecticut in 1861, troops (highly stylized) leaving for Washington and National Service . . . Ceremony of Innocence indeed . . .|
The epigraph for The Ceremony of Innocence is the last stanza of a short Siegfield Sassoon poem :
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Siegfield Sassoon knew first hand of what he wrote: twice wounded on the Western Front, where he served with Robert Graves, hospital friend of Winfield Owen, he was known as “Mad Jack” by his men – who refused to go out on missions without him. Publicly Anti-war he served, wrote, and exorcised his depression and demons by taking enormous risk on the battlefield. He and William Hanlin would have gotten along famously . . . .