Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Best books on the Great War

Having recently returned from a great trip to the Somme where we stayed at Martin and Kate Pegler's, I'm working my way through yet more books on the Great War. Although a truly tragic time in the history of our planet, I remain deeply interested in the plight of the Tommy in the trenches and the extraordinary resilience which he showed.

Martin is an expert on the period and has written extensively about it.  I asked him for his favourite books on the Great War and he has kindly consented to me reproducing his list.

Memoirs of an Infantry officer, Siegfried Sassoon
Goodbye to all that, Robert Graves
Old soldiers never die, Frank Richards
Some Desperate Glory, E. Campion Vaughan
Sagittarius Rising (aviation), Cecil Lewis
Storm of Steel, Ernst Junger (German)
A Subaltern's War, C.E. Carrington
Singled Out (women post war) Virginia Nicholson*
The Unknown Soldier, Neil Hanson

Interestingly despite having read about a dozen books on the subject, I've not read one of these! Still Saasoon is next on my list after I finish reading Undertones of War by Edmund Blunden, a reminiscence written in 1924 by a junior officer who went in to become Professor of Poetry at Oxford. There are some fascinations in the book and deadpan descriptions of the reality of life in the trenches, athough he looses me in his flowery prose at times
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