The best books that are unjustly forgotten from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November
By W.D. Wetherell

The Books I Picked & Why

Mr. Britling Sees It Through

By H.G. Wells

Mr. Britling Sees It Through

Why this book?

H. G. Wells coined the wildly optimistic phrase “A war to end wars” in l914, but four bitter years later he would sadly admit “This war is the worst thing that’s ever happened to mankind.” His autobiographical novel traces the emotional and intellectual arc of this journey from idealism to disillusionment; a bestseller in l916, it still packs a punch, the testament of a compassionate, highly-civilized man powerless to stop the world’s agony.


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A Hilltop on the Marne

By Mildred Aldrich

A Hilltop on the Marne

Why this book?

The good news? After a long career as an editor in Boston, Ms. Aldrich retired to her beloved France in June l914. The bad news? The cottage she bought was only a few miles behind the front lines once the war started later that summer. This is her eyewitness account of what the Great War does to her adopted village, and memorably combines two literary genres that would seem to be incompatible: a book of simple rural pleasures with a book on war.


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Paths of Glory

By Humphrey Cobb

Paths of Glory

Why this book?

Film historians regard the movie version as one of Stanley Kubrick’s most powerful achievements, thanks in no small measure to Kirk Douglas, who, in the role of a French colonel desperate to preserve the life of his men in a suicidal attack, gives a performance for the ages. The l935 novel the film is based on stands on its own as one of the great anti-war books that followed in World War One’s wake.


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The Old Front Line

By John Masefield

The Old Front Line

Why this book?

Masefield, before his 50-year tenure as Britain’s Poet Laureate, spent the war writing dispatches from the front. This slim book from l917 is his honest, soberly graphic description of what the Somme battlefield looked like after the fighting moved on—an approach that conveys war’s horrors without any moralizing or exaggeration.


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The Real Dope

By Ring Lardner

The Real Dope

Why this book?

How’s this for a challenge? Write a humorous book during World War One that can still make readers laugh 100 years later. That’s exactly what Lardner does here, when he turns his famous character Jack Keefe, the semi-literate, big-talking baseball pitcher into a soldier and sends him boasting and bragging to “Nobody’s Land,” where he hilariously ducks every dangerous situation he’s put in.


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