Pat Wheeler, a scholar of literature, describes the narrative style as "both naturalistic and realistic and very much in the manner of the nineteenth century writers [Faulks] cites as literary influences"—Wheeler notes Émile Zola , Charles Dickens and George Gissing among these.  Wheeler emphasizes that the naturalistic tendencies of the narrative allow treatment of the war setting without an idealization of the "human" parts of the narrative.  Consistently, reviews emphasize the novel's imagery of the battle experience in and amongst the trenches.  For Slade, the novel "produces a vivid and traumatizing description of the sights and sounds of life and death in (and under the trenches)";  the principal cause of this, he says, is "the pure fury and intensity of the imagery created page after page". 
The Pulitzer Prize for History has been awarded since 1917 for a distinguished book upon the history of the United States. Many history books have also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. Two people have won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice; Margaret Leech, for Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865 in 1941 and In the Days of McKinley in 1960, and Bernard Bailyn, for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1968) and Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (1987).