The best books on the human impact of World War I

Adam Hochschild Author Of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes
By Adam Hochschild

Who am I?

Adam Hochschild is the author of ten books. The era of the First World War figures in his latest, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes, and is the major subject of his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. To End All Wars has been translated into seven languages, won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is at work now on a book about the First World War era and its aftermath in the United States.


I wrote...

Book cover of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

What is my book about?

The astonishing but forgotten story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who married an heir to a great American fortune and became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of her time. Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia who had worked in cigar factories since the age of eleven. Two years later, she captured headlines across the globe when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, a scion of one of the legendary 400 families of New York high society.

The books I picked & why

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Regeneration

By Pat Barker,

Book cover of Regeneration

Why this book?

This superbly written suite of novels does what far too few books about the war does: it brings alive not just those who fought this terrible conflict, but those who were brave enough to oppose it, and who suffered greatly for their pains. The middle volume is loosely based on the case of the imprisoned British pacifist Alice Wheeldon.

Regeneration

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Regeneration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…


Hell's Foundations: A Town, Its Myths and Gallipoli

By Geoffrey Moorhouse,

Book cover of Hell's Foundations: A Town, Its Myths and Gallipoli

Why this book?

A striking look at the devastating impact the war had on one English town, hundreds of whose young men died in the disastrously bungled Gallipoli campaign.

Hell's Foundations: A Town, Its Myths and Gallipoli

By Geoffrey Moorhouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hell's Foundations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is no shortage of books on the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign of 1915 but this one stands out. In it Geoffrey Moorhouse moves the focus from the more familar aspects to concentrate on one small mill town, Bury, in Lancashire, and to anatomize the long-lasting effect the Dardanelles had on it.

Bury was the regimental home of the Lancashire Fusiliers. In the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915 it lost a large proportion of its youth. By May 1915, some 7,000 Bury men had already gone to war, to be followed by many others before Armistice Day. More than 1,600,from…


Testament of Youth

By Vera Brittain,

Book cover of Testament of Youth

Why this book?

Brittain lost a brother, a fiancé, and two of her closest friends in the war, all while nursing wounded soldiers. This is a very personal accounting of the impact of the war on her and her family. 



Testament of Youth

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Testament of Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.


Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

By Alan Clark,

Book cover of Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

Why this book?

This book brings to life a part of the war Western readers know far too little about: the vast battles that ranged back and forth across Eastern Europe and Russia. Two of the three armies involved, those of Tsarist Russia and Austria-Hungary, were spectacularly incompetent, and saw their soldiers needlessly slaughtered by the millions before these two empires dissolved under the war’s impact.

Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

By Alan Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suicide of the Empires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the western front soon became bogged down in the mud at Flanders. But on the wide plains and forests of Eastern Europe the three great Empires - Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary - grappled in a series of battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. Shortly after the outbreak of war the Russian "steamroller" had lurched into Prussia only to be hurled back amind the marshes of Tannenberg. For the next three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth. This work describes the campaigns which provoked…


A Very Long Engagement

By Sebastien Japrisot,

Book cover of A Very Long Engagement

Why this book?

A haunting novel about the experience in this war of France—which suffered by far the highest casualties of any of the Western Allies, not to mention the devastation of a wide swath of its territory, where some of the worst fighting took place.

A Very Long Engagement

By Sebastien Japrisot,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Very Long Engagement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1919, Mathilde Donnay, a young wheelchair-bound woman in France, begins a quest to find out if her fianc , supposedly killed in the line of duty two years earlier, might still be alive. Reprint. 50,000 first printing. (A Warner Bros. Independent Pictures film, releasing Fall 2004, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring Audrey Tautou & Jodie Fo


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Interested in World War 1, France, and World War 2?

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