Why this book?
This autobiographical study of Vera Brittain’s life in the time leading up to the Great War, through it and projecting into the inter-war years, brilliantly demonstrates the enormous changes that were wrought by the brutal and world-shaping conflict. Brittain is a fiercely intelligent, politically aware narrator as well as a likable, wry, honest, and vulnerable human being, and it is the combination of these traits which makes reading her account of the times such an intensely involving and emotional experience. Her book gives a real sense of what it was like to be a woman at the time, shielded by society from the dangers that all her beloved men-folk – fiancé, brother, friends – were sent to face. Grieving and determined to play her part, she gave up her (hard-won) place at Oxford to enroll as a VAD, and her experiences nursing men at the front changed her forever. This book, which I have read several times, was both an inspiration for, and central to my research for, Blasted Things.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.