The best books on 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

The Books I Picked & Why

Regeneration

By Pat Barker

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.


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

By Geoffrey Moorhouse

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.


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Testament of Youth

By Vera Brittain

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. 




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

By Alan Clark

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.


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A Very Long Engagement

By Sebastien Japrisot

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.


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