The most recommended World War 1 books

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693 authors created a book list connected to World War 1, and here are their favorite World War 1 books.
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Book cover of A Hilltop on the Marne

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November

From my list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One.

Who am I?

Novelist, essayist, and short-story writer W. D. Wetherell is the author of over two dozen books. A visit to the World War One battlefields in Flanders led to his lasting interest in the human tragedies of l914-18, inspiring his novel A Century of November, and his critical study Where Wars Go to Die; The Forgotten Literature of World War One.

W.D.'s book list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Why did W.D. love 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.

By Mildred Aldrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hilltop on the Marne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mildred Aldrich (November 16, 1853 – February 19, 1928) was an American journalist and writer She was born in 1853 in Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in Boston, taught at elementary school there and went on into journalism.[2] She wrote for the Boston Home Journal, the Boston Journal and the Boston Herald. She started the short-lived The Mahogany Tree in 1892. In 1898, she moved to France, and, while there, became a friend of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. She worked as a foreign correspondent and translator.


Book cover of The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Jim Eldridge Author Of Murder at the Natural History Museum

From my list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction.

Who am I?

I have always loved history, from ancient Egyptian times up to recent history (the 1950s and 1960s). Put history in the context of a crime and the history becomes even more fascinating. A book where the history of that time comes vividly alive for the reader is the greatest pleasure a reader can experience.

Jim's book list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction

Jim Eldridge Why did Jim love this book?

Agatha Christie is deservedly the world’s best-selling crime writer, and most of her readers are familiar with Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, but with this book we have the undiscovered gems of the mysterious Harley Quin and his partner Mr. Satterthwaite. The book is evocative of England in the 1930s. It makes for addictive reading and shows Christie at her very best.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A unique offering from the Queen of Crime. This Agatha Christie Signature Edition features the hero the world-famous author was most fond of - Mr Harley Quin, the enigmatic friend and counterpart of the rational Mr Satterthwaite.

So far, it had been a typical New Year's Eve house party. But Mr Satterthwaite - a keen observer of human nature - sensed that the real drama of the evening was yet to unfold.

So it proved when a mysterious stranger arrived after midnight. Who was this Mr Quin? And why did his presence have such a pronounced effect on Eleanor Portal,…


Book cover of Gabrielle Petit: The Death and Life of a Female Spy in the First World War

Alison Fell Author Of Women as Veterans in Britain and France After the First World War

From my list on women and the First World War.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the First World War ever since I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth at the age of 19. When I lived in France in my twenties I started to read French nurses’ memoirs and diaries, and for the last fifteen years or so have continued to read and write about women’s experiences during and after the war as a university academic researcher, often from a comparative perspective. Men’s stories and memories of the First World War still dominate our understanding of it, but I believe that women’s perspectives give us a vital and often overlooked insight into the war and its consequences.

Alison's book list on women and the First World War

Alison Fell Why did Alison love this book?

British people have often heard of Edith Cavell, who has been commemorated in Britain as a national heroine of the war after she was executed by the Germans in 1915 for her role in running an escape network in Belgium for Allied Soldiers. But Cavell was only one individual amongst hundreds who resisted the authorities in occupied France and Belgium. Like Cavell, young Belgian woman Gabrielle Petit was remembered as a national heroine after her execution during the war. De Schaepdrijver’s book vividly brings her story to life, explaining how she was became involved in espionage, as well as showing how a cult of remembrance grew around her in the decades following the 1918 armistice.

By Sophie de Schaepdrijver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In central Brussels stands a statue of a young woman. Built in 1923, it is the first monument to a working-class woman in European history. Her name was Gabrielle Petit. History has forgotten Petit, an ambitious and patriotic Belgian, executed by firing squad in 1916 for her role as an intelligence agent for the British Army. After the First World War she was celebrated as an example of stern endeavour, but a hundred years later her memory has faded.

In the first part of this historical biography Sophie De Schaepdrijver uses Petit's life to explore gender, class and heroism in…


Book cover of Elsie and Mairi Go to War

Wendy Moore Author Of No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain's Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

From my list on women’s experiences in WW1.

Who am I?

Wendy Moore is a journalist and author of five non-fiction books on medical and social history. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Times, Observer and Lancet. Her new book is about Endell Street Military Hospital which was run and staffed by women in London in the First World War.

Wendy's book list on women’s experiences in WW1

Wendy Moore Why did Wendy love this book?

Atkinson’s book tells the story of Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm who were friends and motorcycle enthusiasts. When war broke out they joined a voluntary medical unit heading for France and set up a first aid post near the frontline. They were fearless, sometimes reckless, and always cheerful as they saved the wounded. I loved the way Atkinson’s book captured their youthful exuberance and gung-ho courage.

By Diane Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elsie and Mairi Go to War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When they met at a motorcycle club in 1912, Elsie Knocker was a thirty year-old motorcycling divorcee dressed in bottle-green Dunhill leathers, and Mairi Chisholm was a brilliant eighteen-year old mechanic, living at home and borrowing tools from her brother. Little did they know, theirs was to become one of the most extraordinary stories of the First World War.

In 1914, they roared off to London 'to do their bit', and within a month they were in the thick of things in Belgium driving ambulances to distant military hospitals. Frustrated by the number of men dying of shock in the…


Book cover of A Cornish Farmer's Diary

Sue Appleby Author Of The Hammers of Towan: A Nineteenth-Century Cornish Family

From my list on Cornish history.

Who am I?

Part-Cornish, as a child I spent family holidays in Cornwall and was told family stories of Cornish relatives, especially of great grandfather Philip Henry Hammer and his numerous children who left Cornwall for destinations near – London and Wales – and far–South Africa, Australia, and Tasmania – to make a living. Old family photographs, some from the 1870s helped to bring these men and women alive and inspired me to write The Hammers of Towan. The more I research Cornish history, the more I learn, and the more I want to write about Cornish people and their place in the world. 

Sue's book list on Cornish history

Sue Appleby Why did Sue love this book?

Just love reading James Stevens words as he wrote them: "February 23 – Cut a batten 20 ft long and made trough and rack for the calves. Much rain falling this last week. Great war on with South Africa."  "October 26 – Drove mare and trap to St Ives. Bought 500 pilchards at 1s 4d per 120."

This diary gave me a great insight into the daily life of a 19th-century Cornish farmer, which I needed as I began to write my book.

Book cover of The Sun Also Rises

John Andrew Fredrick Author Of The King Of Good Intentions Part Three

From my list on reads if your rock ‘n’ roll party days are over.

Who am I?

I’m a perfect of exemplar of an author whose party days are decidedly not over, but I’m doubtless at the age/stage where I’m bloody contemplating at least paring down my intakes plural. Not that I’m still at it like a Sophomore or anything but I’m hanging in there. I get a great, tingly buzz (you had to have seen this coming!) recommending great books to keen readers. I live in a library—essentially—and friends who visit for a beer or a spliff most often leave with a book I’ve given them. Now you lot are gonna ask me to lend you some scratch! Now you’ve gone and done it, John! Haha.

John's book list on reads if your rock ‘n’ roll party days are over

John Andrew Fredrick Why did John love this book?

If you’re over thirty you should have outgrown your infatuation with Papa by now, methinks; but still it’s nice to revisit this lark of a roman a clef.

You’ll either shudder or joy (or both) at the scenes where the roisterers on the bus are shooting wine into each others’ mouths via boda bag. Did I spell boda bag properly? It’s been a long time, mate.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Sun Also Rises as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jake Barnes is a man whose war wound has made him unable to have sex—and the promiscuous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley. Jake is an expatriate American journalist living in Paris, while Brett is a twice-divorced Englishwoman with bobbed hair and numerous love affairs, and embodies the new sexual freedom of the 1920s. The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway's circle, and the action is based on real events, particularly Hemingway's life in Paris in the 1920s and a trip to Spain in 1925 for the Pamplona festival and fishing in the…


Book cover of Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron

Kirby Larson Author Of Hattie Big Sky

From my list on Montana during WWI.

Who am I?

I am a history-phobe turned history fanatic thanks to a snippet of a family story about my great-grandmother. Casual interest morphed into a focused passion when I learned that she truly had homesteaded-- all by herself and in her late teens-- in eastern Montana in 1917. Her accomplishment inspired four years of research and writing, resulting in my first historical novel, Hattie Big Sky, which earned a Newbery Honor award and spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. More importantly, that bit of family lore revealed my purpose as a writer and I have since devoted my career to bringing the past alive for today’s young readers.

Kirby's book list on Montana during WWI

Kirby Larson Why did Kirby love this book?

The story behind this book is nearly as fascinating as the book itself. Evelyn Cameron—Lady Cameron!—accompanied her ne’er do well husband to Montana with a scheme to raise thoroughbreds. When that failed, her husband fell into despair and it was up to Evelyn to put food on the table. She did that by photographing what she saw around her: everything from staged and romanticized “Western photos” that she sold to magazines back East, to interiors of dreary homestead claim shacks. Her glass plate negatives were converted to greenhouses after her passing but were thankfully discovered and restored, resulting in this incredible book of photographs.

By Donna M. Lucey (editor), Donna M. Lucey (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Photographing Montana 1894-1928 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leaving behind her childhood world of the English gentry, Evelyn Cameron began ranching on the harsh and beautiful plains of eastern Montana in 1889 with her husband, Ewen. When their initial venture--raising polo ponies--failed, Evelyn turned to glass-plate photography to help support her family. Nearly 2,000 negatives remained in a friend's basement for 50 years after Evelyn's death until author Donna M. Lucey tracked down the exra-ordinary collection.
Photographing Montana showcases more than 150 photographs of life in Montana from the 1890s through the 1920s. Evelyn Cameron's work portrays vast landscapes, range horses, cattle roundups, wheat harvests, community celebrations, and…


Book cover of Thomas Hardy: Poems Selected

Oliver Maclennan Author Of Living Wild: New Beginnings in the Great Outdoors

From my list on the weirdness and wildness of nature.

Who am I?

My choice of books reflects a lifelong passion for literature and the natural world. I’ve always enjoyed travelling, to cities or more remote locations, learning as much as I can about the people that live there, and my first published article was about a hotel in Mali, photographed by my sister. Ten years later we published our first book, The Foraged Home. With Living Wild we wanted to look more deeply at how people lived, not just where, focussing not only on day-to-day life and their work, but their relationship with the surrounding landscape, asking big questions about our place in the world.

Oliver's book list on the weirdness and wildness of nature

Oliver Maclennan Why did Oliver love this book?

At once a voice arose among / The bleak twigs overhead / In a full-hearted evensong / Of joy illimited; / An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, / In blast-beruffled plume, / Had chosen thus to fling his soul / Upon the growing gloom . . .

Hardy’s nature poems deal in darkness and light (but mostly darkness), the changes wrought not only by seasons, but by human activity and our relationship with the natural world.

In The Darkling Thrush, the poet listens to the ‘ecstatic sound’ of the bird, ‘some blessed Hope, whereof he knew / And I was unaware.’ A troubled ending, but, given WWI was just around the corner, a reminder how fragile it all is.

By Tom Paulin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A selection of the writer's greatest nature poetry, selected by Tom Paulin, published in a beautiful new edition by Faber.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom . . .

-The Darkling Thrush


Book cover of Dangerous Jane: the Life and Times of Jane Addams, Crusader for Peace

Jennifer Merz Author Of Steadfast: Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers' Rights

From my list on strong inspiring women.

Who am I?

As a picture-book writer and illustrator as well as a mother and teacher, the most important goal I can think of is fueling a child’s imagination with possibilities by providing true stories of trailblazing women. My reviews highlight remarkable women in the arts, government, sports, social work, and history. I hope you enjoy these books!

Jennifer's book list on strong inspiring women

Jennifer Merz Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is a marvelous picture book on Jane Addams, founder of Hull House in 1889. Hull House was a Chicago settlement house for newly-arrived European immigrants. When we first meet Jane, she is a sad, sickly child who relates to those living without hope. She promises to help them when she grows up – and she does! Through her tenacity and grit, she studies, travels, and figures out how to help struggling families. 

Called “Saint Jane” when Hull House opened, she also formed the Women’s Peace Party during WWI. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jane Addams is an inspiration. The text of Dangerous Jane is spare, clear, and poetic; illustrations are beautifully drawn and carefully designed. This book is a treasure!

By Suzanne Slade, Alice Ratterree (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dangerous Jane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

An inspiring picture book biography of Jane Addams, the groundbreaking social activist who went from the FBI's "Most Dangerous Woman in America" to Nobel Peace Prize winner.

From the time she was a child, Jane Addams's heart ached for others—for those who were sad, hungry, and hopeless. When she grew up, Jane created Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago where she worked eighteen hours a day, providing whatever her immigrant neighbors needed: English lessons, childcare, steady work—as well as friendship, dignity, and hope. Then World War I broke out. Jane had helped people from different countries live in peace…


Book cover of Antipoems: How to Look Better & Feel Great

Mark Yakich Author Of Poetry: A Survivor's Guide

From my list on poems for people who don’t usually read them.

Who am I?

As a child I did not enjoy reading of any kind, detested English class, and loathed poetry in particular. I simply couldn’t comprehend what relevance poems had to my life. Then, while living overseas, in my mid-twenties in a country in which I didn’t speak the language well and had no friends, I took refuge in an English-language bookstore. There, I would find the slimmest books I could find, which happened to be poetry collections, and I’d pull one down hoping for commiseration. At some point, I realized that I could make certain friends with certain poems. Twenty-five years of growing friendships later, now I read and write poetry for a living.  

Mark's book list on poems for people who don’t usually read them

Mark Yakich Why did Mark love this book?

Pablo Neruda is the Chilean poet everyone knows. But Nicanor Parra is the Chilean poet everyone ought to know. If you enjoy sending up poetry’s preciousness, Parra is your poet. From daily living to romantic love and from political upheaval to climate disaster, Parra parses irreverence and satire in ways that make his sentiments cut much deeper than other poets’ straight-forward sincerity. “Butterfly:” he writes, “you have to pull off its wings / to see how it flies.”

By Nicanor Parra, Liz Werner (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Real seriousness," Nicanor Parra, the antipoet of Chile, has said, rests in "the comic." And read in that light, this newest collection of his work is very serious indeed. It is an abundant offering of his signature mocking humor, subverting received conventions and pretensions in both poetry and everyday life, public and private, ingeniously and wittily rendered into English in an antitranslation (the word is Parra's) by Liz Werner. Of the fifty-eight pieces in Antipoems, the first twenty-three are taken from Parra's 1985 collection, Hojas de Parra ("Vine Leaves" or "Leaves of Parra"), two others appeared in his Paginas en…