Although some of Evelyn Waugh's other books (Brideshead Revisited, etc.) are better known, this trilogy is, in my opinion, his best work, and that's saying a lot since I consider Waugh one of the century's greatest writers. To use the word masterpiece, as others have done, is not to exaggerate. Waugh's wit, his satire, his humanity, his moral center and his splendid characterizations and brilliant plotting are all used to wonderful effect here. The idiocy of war is revealed, as is the useless tragedy of it all. The protagonist, Crouchback, is both observer and pawn and it is his spiritual and emotional journey which propel the story. Many of the considerable cast of characters are grotesques and monsters of various kinds, but no less human for all of that, so great is Waugh's skill. Above all, I think it is the author's ability to explore the most serious of questions with a light tough, one that keeps the reader rushing forward, that is the key to the works success. Not my first time reading it, and it won't be my last.