79 books like The Return of the Soldier

By Rebecca West,

Here are 79 books that The Return of the Soldier fans have personally recommended if you like The Return of the Soldier. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Who am I?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

9 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.


Book cover of In the Mountains

Lesley Glaister Author Of Blasted Things

From my list on finding a new normal after World War I.

Who am I?

I am the prize-winning author of sixteen novels, most recently Little Egypt, The Squeeze, and Blasted Things. I teach creative writing at the University of St Andrews. I live in Edinburgh and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. I’m a novelist and student of human nature. I love to work out what motivates people, how and why they make choices, their coping mechanisms, and how they act under pressure. Before I begin a novel set in the past, I read as much fiction written at the time as I can find, as well as autobiography and history. In this way, I attempt to truffle down into the actions and impulses of individuals, both performative and deeply interior, that characterise the spirit of the era that I’m writing.

Lesley's book list on finding a new normal after World War I

Lesley Glaister Why did Lesley love this book?

Immediately after the war, a bereaved woman returns alone to her family’s summer home in the Swiss Alps. It is a beautiful place, but she’s terrified of the memories it stirs, and haunted by the ghosts of those she’s lost. When a couple of lost English widows happen upon her house, she seizes eagerly on their company and the distraction they provide. She invites them to stay, and quickly forms an intense and rather desperate attachment to them. This novel gives a fine evocation of a time when so many felt displaced, when it was as if the tectonic plates of civilised existence had shifted the safe ground from beneath their feet. We see the journey of (eventually) a quartet of bereaved and war-shattered people towards a sort of healing, wholeness, and peace – as well as a new tolerance towards the differences of others.

By Elizabeth von Arnim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Mountains is a book by Elizabeth von Arnim. An English woman eludes confusing personal troubles in London and seeks shelter at her lodge amongst the Swiss Alps.


Book cover of The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age

Lesley Glaister Author Of Blasted Things

From my list on finding a new normal after World War I.

Who am I?

I am the prize-winning author of sixteen novels, most recently Little Egypt, The Squeeze, and Blasted Things. I teach creative writing at the University of St Andrews. I live in Edinburgh and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. I’m a novelist and student of human nature. I love to work out what motivates people, how and why they make choices, their coping mechanisms, and how they act under pressure. Before I begin a novel set in the past, I read as much fiction written at the time as I can find, as well as autobiography and history. In this way, I attempt to truffle down into the actions and impulses of individuals, both performative and deeply interior, that characterise the spirit of the era that I’m writing.

Lesley's book list on finding a new normal after World War I

Lesley Glaister Why did Lesley love this book?

Enormously useful to me while researching for Blasted Things, was The Great Silence: 1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War. Taking us through chapters entitled feelingly with nouns: from Wound and Shock, through Resignation, and finally to Hope, Trust and Acceptance, Nicolson provides a chronological account of the period between the 1918 Armistice and the burial of the Unknown Soldier in 1920. It’s addictively readable, the history enriched by the recounted experiences of ordinary people from all walks of life, giving a rounded sense of the time, filled with detail about culture, music, the movies, fashion, class and so much more. This book provides a marvellously concrete and detailed account of the sensibility of a short and fascinatingly complex period.

By Juliet Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Armistice Day 1918 dawns with great joy for victorious Britain, but the nation must confront the carnage war has left in its wake. In The Great Silence, Juliet Nicolson looks through the prism of daily life to narrate the rich but unknown history of the slow healing Britain undergoes in the two years following that day.

The two-year anniversary of the Armistice brings some closure at last: the remains of a nameless soldier, dug up from a French battlefield and escorted to London in a homecoming befitting a king, are laid to rest in glory in the Tomb of the…


Book cover of Antic Hay

Lesley Glaister Author Of Blasted Things

From my list on finding a new normal after World War I.

Who am I?

I am the prize-winning author of sixteen novels, most recently Little Egypt, The Squeeze, and Blasted Things. I teach creative writing at the University of St Andrews. I live in Edinburgh and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. I’m a novelist and student of human nature. I love to work out what motivates people, how and why they make choices, their coping mechanisms, and how they act under pressure. Before I begin a novel set in the past, I read as much fiction written at the time as I can find, as well as autobiography and history. In this way, I attempt to truffle down into the actions and impulses of individuals, both performative and deeply interior, that characterise the spirit of the era that I’m writing.

Lesley's book list on finding a new normal after World War I

Lesley Glaister Why did Lesley love this book?

Set in London in the early 1920s, Huxley’s Antic Hay follows a cast of young bohemian and artistic characters, all affected in various ways by the Great War, as they search for SOMETHING to give meaning to their lives. London has changed, the world has changed, and they are lost. Cripplingly shy Theodore Gumbril, the main character, (inventor of Gumbril's Patent Small-Clothes, trousers which contain an inflatable cushion in the seat) searches for love, and meaning, in the shattered society following the end of the war. His search for love – including the donning of a false, confidence-boosting beard, makes for an absurd kind of comedy. Antic Hay is a savage satire, a switchback of emotions, swooping between humour and despair – though the slight plot does sometimes get rather side-lined by intellectual discussions and I admit to skipping the odd page. However, it gives an excellent flavour of the…

Book cover of The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939

Michael J. Prince Author Of Weary Warriors: Power, Knowledge, and the Invisible Wounds of Soldiers

From my list on the psyche of disabled war veterans.

Who am I?

A Canadian academic, Michael J. Prince is an award-winning author in the field of modern politics, government, and public policy. The Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria, he has written widely on issues of disability activism and social change, including on veterans and their families. He is co-author, with Pamela Moss, of Weary Warriors: Power, Knowledge, and the Invisible Wounds of Soldiers, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014. 

Michael's book list on the psyche of disabled war veterans

Michael J. Prince Why did Michael love this book?

The aftermath of the Great War for wounded and shattered soldiers is carefully examined in this comparative study of two belligerent nations. The great paradox recorded here is how British veterans struggled on the margins of their society, denied legal rights and employment support, while, through state programs, German disabled veterans were more likely reintegrated into their economy. “Disabled veterans,” Cohen concludes in this fascinating study, “were the Great War’s conspicuous legacy.” Tragically, the same might be said of subsequent major armed conflicts. What I got from this book is the absolute importance of decisions following the Great War in shaping the indifference and support toward veterans over the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.  

By Deborah Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War Come Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Disabled veterans were the First World War's most conspicuous legacy. Nearly eight million men in Europe returned from the First World War permanently disabled by injury or disease. In The War Come Home, Deborah Cohen offers a comparative analysis of the very different ways in which two belligerent nations--Germany and Britain--cared for their disabled. At the heart of this book is an apparent paradox. Although postwar Germany provided its disabled veterans with generous benefits, they came to despise the state that favored them. Disabled men proved susceptible to the Nazi cause. By contrast, British ex-servicemen remained loyal subjects, though they…


Book cover of Battle Scars: A Story of War and All That Follows

Joe Talon Author Of Counting Crows

From my list on spooky minds and old soldiers who never give up.

Who am I?

I’ve written about war for years. To be honest, it all began in school when we studied the terrible events of The Great War. Hearing the hearts shatter of men on the frontline never left me. I wanted to understand. I needed to understand. PTSD is something I’m familiar with, even if I’ve never been on the front line in battle. I’m also obsessed with myths, legends, ghost stories, and mysteries. My Lorne Turner series combines my passions and the books shine a light, in fiction, on what happens to old soldiers when they come home.

Joe's book list on spooky minds and old soldiers who never give up

Joe Talon Why did Joe love this book?

Another story about a mind broken by war. Jason Fox is former Special Forces, and it shows. Exploring the effects of war on the mind of a soldier who is trained to abhor weakness in all its forms is deeply moving. Also, reading about man’s life descending into chaos when it’s been so ordered is tough. The effect on family and friends, work colleagues. Again, not an easy read, because this is real life folks, but well worth the effort. It’s also very interesting to read about the conflicts from a warrior’s point of view.

By Jason Fox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

___________

THE EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER.

'The most important book you'll ever read... Battle Scars will save lives.' TOM MARCUS, author of SOLDIER SPY

Battle Scars tells the story of Jason Fox's career as an elite operator, from the gunfights, hostage rescues, daring escapes and heroic endeavours that defined his service, to a very different kind of battle that awaited him at home.

After more than two decades of active duty, Foxy was diagnosed with complex PTSD, forcing him to leave the military brotherhood and confront the hard reality of what follows. What happens when you become your own enemy?…


Book cover of The Horrible Peace: British Veterans and the End of the Napoleonic Wars

Roger Knight Author Of Convoys: The British Struggle Against Napoleonic Europe and America

From my list on history to change your ideas on the Napoleonic Wars.

Who am I?

For fifty years I've studied the British sailing navy, fascinated by its workings, the slow communications, the vagaries of the winds and tides. In parallel with my work in archives, I've sailed in most of the European waters described in Convoys. I worked at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, for 27 years, leaving as Deputy Director in 2000. Since then, I've taught postgraduates and written about Nelson and the British government (Britain against Napoleon), and became convinced that Britain came very close to being defeated by Napoleonic France. If Napoleon had not thrown it all away by his invasion of Russia in 1812, I might be writing this in French, with a very different script! 

Roger's book list on history to change your ideas on the Napoleonic Wars

Roger Knight Why did Roger love this book?

This is a fine new study looking at the lasting impact of the wars from 1815, particularly at the tens of thousands of men who had served in the army and navy.

Although Britain was in much better shape than the Continental economies, more than twenty years of warfare had changed life and industry, and there were few jobs for the returning soldiers and seamen. It led to domestic protest and violence on the streets, sometimes with veterans fighting regular troops and militia. You could not get further from the glossy fiction of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian.

By Evan Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few battles in world history provide a cleaner dividing line than Waterloo: before, there was Napoleon; after, there was the Pax Britannica. While Waterloo marked France's defeat and Britain's ascendance as an imperial power, the war was far from over for many soldiers and sailors, who were forced to contend with the lasting effects of battlefield trauma, the realities of an impossibly tight labour market, and growing social unrest. The Horrible Peace details a story of distress and discontent, of victory complicated by volcanism, and of the challenges facing Britain at the beginning of its victorious century.

Examining the process…


Book cover of A Heavy Reckoning: War, Medicine and Survival in Afghanistan and Beyond

Eliza Renton Author Of Faithful

From my list on featuring heroes to snuggle with on a cold night.

Who am I?

I'm an English writer now living in the wilds of Tasmania, Australia. My love of books began at school. I devoured the classics and couldn’t wait to audition for the lead in the next school play. Both my father and brother were in the military and I saw firsthand their love and duty for country, and family often with great cost to their mental health and wellbeing. I write stories about heroes like them and the women who win their hearts. Love takes courage. 

Eliza's book list on featuring heroes to snuggle with on a cold night

Eliza Renton Why did Eliza love this book?

I picked this book up on a research trip to London. I had anticipated referring to it in my own writing, however, I could not put it down!

The poignant information and stories recollected by Ms Mayhew are heart stopping. I don’t often cry when I read a book. Ms Mayhew is a thorough medical and social historian who brings to life the reality of healing and medicine in wartime. Miraculous moments were achieved, but at what cost, long term? 

By Emily Mayhew,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What happens when you reach the threshold of life and death - and come back?

As long as humans have lived together on the planet, there have been wars, and injured soldiers and civilians. But today, as we engage in wars across the globe with increasingly sophisticated technology, we are able to bring people back from ever closer encounters with death. But how do we do it, and what happens next?

Here, historian Emily Mayhew explores the modern reality of medicine and injury in wartime, from the trenches of World War One to the dusty plains of Afghanistan and the…


Book cover of The Razor's Edge

Michael Golding Author Of A Poet of the Invisible World

From my list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

Who am I?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.

Michael's book list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey

Michael Golding Why did Michael love this book?

The hero of Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Larry Darrell, is a classic seeker. Crushed by his time in the war, he leaves his family and fiancé behind and heads to Paris—then Germany—and finally India. He’s not really sure what he’s looking for, but he knows that the answers lie down a path far different from the one he’s left behind. Larry’s friends back home feel sure that he’s lost his way; only when their own worlds begin to crumble do they start to realize what he’s attained. The Razor’s Edge makes it clear that the spiritual journey may lead you far from what’s familiar to you. But the journey is worth every sacrifice.

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Razor's Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters - his fiancee Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.


Book cover of A Test of Wills

James Charles Author Of My War with Hemingway

From my list on struggling war veterans returning to civilian life.

Who am I?

I am an army veteran, a member of the American Legion, and take seriously the treatment of Veterans. I was an educator for 30 years working with k-12 grade school children in Los Angeles. I love to read both military and related fiction and non-fiction. I also love to read historical fiction and non-fiction. I like stories about the human condition, where we come from and how we got to this point, and ones that have uplifting resolutions after the main character has gone through much trial and tribulation. The books I have written fit these categories. 

James' book list on struggling war veterans returning to civilian life

James Charles Why did James love this book?

I chose this series, not because of the fun crimes Scotland Yard Inspector Rutledge solves, but because he is a soldier from WWI who battles PTSD. He experiences some of the symptoms other soldiers had, or have, following a traumatic war experience. His dead corporal constantly pesters him throughout the series by being a voice in his head. Additionally, after his fiancée leaves him following the war, he has intimacy issues and cannot express his feelings for the woman he loves. To cope with his sleeplessness and PTSD, he immerses himself in the cases he’s assigned. This series, in part, inspired my book. 

By Charles Todd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspector Rutledge left a brilliant career in Scotland Yard to fight in the Great War. It is now 1919, shell shocked and trying to salvage his sanity and fight off the colleagues jealous of his prewar successes he is drawn into the investigation of the murdered Colonel Harris, in a small Warwickshire village. A debut novel.


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