10 books like Sagittarius Rising

By Cecil Lewis,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sagittarius Rising. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Regeneration

By Pat Barker,

Book cover of Regeneration

Regeneration, the first novel of Pat Barker’s widely acclaimed The Regeneration Trilogy, is also a knock-out. In this novel about the psychosomatic effects of trench warfare, the angel of mercy is a psychiatric doctor based on the real-life W.H.R. Rivers, a neurologist and anthropologist holding the military rank of captain. His job at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland is to heal war-traumatized patients so that they could return to the Front. Rivers, conflicted himself about the war, is as duty-bound as his patients, one of whom is Siegfried Sassoon, who later became the heralded war poet. I love this novel for its emotional and intellectual richness and for its honesty. Barker’s prose brings WWI to vivid, horrifying life—not on the battlefield but in a hospital.  

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…


The Great War and Modern Memory

By Paul Fussell,

Book cover of The Great War and Modern Memory

This brilliant and original book is one of my favorites of any genre. It’s the perfect bookend to The Guns of August in that it illustrates the war’s effects on Europe’s people and culture, though the landscape it examines is literary and psychological rather than historical and political.

The war produced great literature because of the way it bridged the “old” complacent Europe with a “new” one that was pitiless and mechanized, Fussell posits. The effect of this sudden evolution constituted a psychological war-within-a-war for those who fought it. 

Writers such as Sassoon and Owen were able to let go of the past and face the war’s terrible “present” without flinching — to, as Lewis put it, blast their “way through all the poetic bric-a-brac” that defined that former age. 

The result was a depiction of the war’s truth that transcends its mere facts and forever changed the way we…

The Great War and Modern Memory

By Paul Fussell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Great War and Modern Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and named by the Modern Library one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory was universally acclaimed on publication in 1970. Today, Fussell's landmark study remains as original and gripping as ever: a literate, literary, and unapologetic account of the Great War, the war that changed a generation, ushered in the
modern era, and revolutionized how we see the world.

This brilliant work illuminates the trauma and tragedy of modern warfare in fresh, revelatory ways. Exploring the…


Poilu

By Louis Barthas,

Book cover of Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918

A day-to-day chronicle of a remarkably observant Frenchman who served from the beginning to the end of the war, this fascinating book is full of minute observations, perceptive insights, and the real, gritty texture of military life, service at the front, visits home, and confrontations with civilian life and politics. Barthas recounts all of this with an engaging immediacy and passion that makes the reader sad to part company with him at the war’s end.

Poilu

By Louis Barthas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The harrowing first-person account of a French foot soldier who survived four years in the trenches of the First World War

Along with millions of other Frenchmen, Louis Barthas, a thirty-five-year-old barrelmaker from a small wine-growing town, was conscripted to fight the Germans in the opening days of World War I. Corporal Barthas spent the next four years in near-ceaseless combat, wherever the French army fought its fiercest battles: Artois, Flanders, Champagne, Verdun, the Somme, the Argonne. Barthas' riveting wartime narrative, first published in France in 1978, presents the vivid, immediate experiences of a frontline soldier.

This excellent new translation…


Goodbye to All That

By Robert Graves,

Book cover of Goodbye to All That

Best known as the author of I, Claudius, poet Robert Graves writes movingly about his experience in World War I. He began as a patriotic young officer of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but life in the trenches, class conflict, bureaucracy, and loss of friends in combat made him a different man. A shell fragment pierced his lung at the Battle of the Somme; he was expected to die but somehow survived. His experience can be compared with Keegan’s account of the Somme. After the war he suffered from what today would be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—startled at loud noises and any smell that reminded him of poison gas in the trenches. I love this book because it brings poetic sensitivity to the experience and effect of combat.

Goodbye to All That

By Robert Graves,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Goodbye to All That as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of one of the best and most famous memoirs of the conflict.

Good-bye to All That was published a decade after the end of the first World War, as the poet and novelist Robert Graves was preparing to leave England for good. The memoir documents not only his own personal experience, as a patriotic young officer, of the horrors and disillusionment of battle, but also the wider loss of innocence the Great War brought about. By the time of his writing, a way of life had…


Charles James

By Michele Gerber Klein,

Book cover of Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art

Like any art form, fashion has its share of tortured geniuses. Perhaps none combined genius and torture with as much panache as Charles James, who dressed celebrities and socialites only to die in poverty. Vogue editor Bettina Ballard remembered that “he was constantly cutting and perfecting” his toiles, “which he turned, very occasionally, into actual dresses.” A personality as complex and demanding as his sculptural evening gowns, James knew everybody and got along with nobody—and you’ll understand why after reading Klein’s biography, which draws on recently discovered, unfiltered tapes James made for a planned autobiography that, like so many of his creations, he never he finished.

Charles James

By Michele Gerber Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charles James as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christian Dior described him as the inspiration for the New Look. Salvador Dali called his work soft sculpture, and Virginia Woolf exclaimed, He is a genius. As George Bernard Shaw tells us, only unreasonable men change the world. This portrait of the life and times of Charles James winner of two Coty awards, and the subject of a 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art show draws on the glamour of Europe in the 1930s, and the dazzle of New York City from the 40s through the 70s as it travels with James from his birth to privilege in England in 1906…


Lexicon of Musical Invective

By Nicolas Slonimsky,

Book cover of Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time

This book is essentially a book of quotes from famous musicians, composers, and conductors. I find this book especially inspiring because of the trivial nature of some of the quotes. Sometimes it is just refreshing to read Beethoven complaining about his taxes, or Mozart trying to get paid after a gig. I use this book in my university classes constantly.

Lexicon of Musical Invective

By Nicolas Slonimsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lexicon of Musical Invective as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A snakeful of critical venom aimed at the composers and the classics of nineteenth- and twentieth-century music. Who wrote advanced cat music? What commonplace theme is very much like Yankee Doodle? Which composer is a scoundrel and a giftless bastard? What opera would His Satanic Majesty turn out? Whose name suggests fierce whiskers stained with vodka? And finally, what third movement begins with a dog howling at midnight, then imitates the regurgitations of the less-refined or lower-middle-class type of water-closet cistern, and ends with the cello reproducing the screech of an ungreased wheelbarrow? For the answers to these and other…


Marx's Das Kapital

By Francis Wheen,

Book cover of Marx's Das Kapital: A Biography

Francis Wheen is a witty journalist who has written a short but revealing biography of Karl Marx. And in this book, he explains in no more than 100 pages, how Marx came to write his masterpiece, Das Kapital. He shows why Marx’s great treatise deserves to be read and understood.

Marx's Das Kapital

By Francis Wheen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In vivid detail, Francis Wheen tells the story of Das Kapital and Karl Marx’s twenty-year struggle to complete his unfinished masterpiece. Born in a two-room flat in London’s Soho amid political squabbles and personal tragedy, the first volume of Das Kapital was published in 1867, to muted praise. But after Marx’s death, the book went on to influence thinkers, writers, and revolutionaries, from George Bernard Shaw to V. I. Lenin, changing the direction of twentieth-century history. Wheen’s captivating, accessible book shows that, far from being a dry economic treatise, Das Kapital is like a vast Gothic novel whose heroes are…


The Truth about Pygmalion

By Richard Huggett,

Book cover of The Truth about Pygmalion

This is an apparently ‘true’ account of the first-ever production of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (from which sprang My Fair Lady), directed by Shaw himself—in the days when playwrights mostly directed their own work—and featuring two theatrical giants: Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Professor Higgins and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. Tree, who as an actor liked to don disguises in the form of false noses and wigs, was incapable of playing ‘straight’, and Shaw, with what appears to be the patience of a saint, had a right old time dissuading him from giving Higgins a limp and a Scottish accent. Meanwhile Mrs. P—ironically, bearing in mind the story of the play—struggled with her cockney accent and disappeared from the last week of rehearsals without telling anyone where she’d gone. (She was getting married for the second time.) I don’t know how ‘true’ this all is but it makes for…

The Truth about Pygmalion

By Richard Huggett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth about Pygmalion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Pygmalion

By George Bernard Shaw,

Book cover of Pygmalion

This play is perhaps better known to contemporary audiences by its movie title My Fair Lady. I loved this movie as a child and studied the play years later as a graduate student. I always admired Eliza Doolittle for having the gumption to act on whatever quirky opportunity life gave her for the mere sake of stretching herself. Henry Higgins’ self-serving wager that he could transform a Cockney flower girl into a duchess held out no tangible reward to the young woman who just wanted to better herself. While Eliza learned to transcend social class through her speech and deportment, the more valuable reward was an independent assessment of who she ultimately was despite the class context of her social world.

Pygmalion

By George Bernard Shaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of George Bernard Shaw's best-known plays, Pygmalion was a rousing success on the London and New York stages, an entertaining motion picture and a great hit with its musical version, My Fair Lady. An updated and considerably revised version of the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea, the 20th-century story pokes fun at the antiquated British class system.
In Shaw's clever adaptation, Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistic expert, takes on a bet that he can transform an awkward cockney flower seller into a refined young lady simply by polishing her manners and changing the way she speaks. In…


Fighter Heroes of WWI

By Joshua Levine,

Book cover of Fighter Heroes of WWI: The Extraordinary Story of the Pioneering Airmen of the Great War

Barely a decade after The Wright brothers’ first tentative take-off, flying machines were thrown into the scorching crucible of war in Europe. The men who flew them were pioneers, members of what many saw as a military flying club. But the flying club soon developed into a bear-pit of mortal combat, fought behind synchronised machine guns without the solace of a parachute. Levine paints his pictures with the personal accounts and anecdotes of the pilots that fought these battles, seeking to understand the feelings and motivations of the young men who volunteered to risk all in the frightening new theatre of aerial warfare. These truths, are in many instances, stranger than fiction, forged, as they were, on the cutting edge of the new aviation technology.

Fighter Heroes of WWI

By Joshua Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fighter Heroes of WWI as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first heroes of the air.

Rewriting the rules of military engagement and changing the course of modern history as a result, the pioneering airmen of the First World War took incredible risks to perform their vital contribution to the war effort.

Fighter Heroes of WWI is a narrative history that conveys the perils of early flight, the thrills of being airborne, and the horrors of war in the air at a time when pilots carried little defensive armament and no parachutes.

The men who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914 were the original heroes of flying, treading into…


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