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canidmajor's avatar

Book recommendations, please? (See details)

Asked by canidmajor (4249 points ) May 10th, 2014

I’m looking for some recommendations of titles where the plot generally covers the World Wars One and Two experiences of non-military persons. I have read the better known ones, like Schindler’s List, Anne Frank, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I would love lesser known titles.

Thanks so much.

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11 Answers

weeveeship's avatar

A Separate Peace by John Knowles (Takes place during WWII)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Separate_Peace

Adagio's avatar

Regeneration. written by Pat Barker
Set in a British institution for soldiers suffering from mental trauma as a result of their WW1 experience, it also centres around a particular therapist and his relationship with the men. I highly recommend this book, it is well written, well researched and engaging.

janbb's avatar

“Atonement” by Ian McEwan and ‘Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Pianist by Władysław Szpilman
A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Herman Wouk, War and Rememberance and Winds of War, or if you want another The Hope. Olive branch?

jaytkay's avatar

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

flutherother's avatar

“Testament of Youth” by Vera Brittain

gailcalled's avatar

Good-Bye to All That”, the autobiography of Robert Graves, published in 1929 when he was 34. . “The title… point(s) to the passing of an old order following the cataclysm of the First World War; the inadequacies of patriotism, the rise of atheism, feminism, socialism and pacifism, the changes to traditional married life, and not least the emergence of new styles of literary expression, are all treated in the work, bearing as they did directly on Graves’ life.

The unsentimental and frequently comic treatment of the banalities and intensities of the life of a British army officer in the First World War gave Graves fame, notoriety and financial security, but the book’s subject is also his family history, childhood, schooling and, immediately following the war, early married life; all phases bearing witness to the “particular mode of living and thinking” that constitute a poetic sensibility.” Source

. This is a good parallel read to Pat Barker’s ”Regeneration.” Overlapping cast of characters (Graves, Seigfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owens, among others). Graves was also a poet and went on to write “I, Claudius” in 1934

The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell is another wonderful companion book to these two. “It describes the literary responses by English participants in World War I to their experiences of combat, particularly in trench warfare. The perceived futility and insanity of this conduct became, for many gifted Englishmen of their generation, a metaphor for life.

Fussell describes how the collective experience of the “Great War” was correlated with, and to some extent underlain by, an enduring shift in the aesthetic perceptions of individuals, from the tropes of Romanticism that had guided young adults before the war, to the harsher themes that came to be dominant during the war and after.” Source

Unbroken's avatar

Fatelessness was written by imre kertesz who won the Nobel peace prize in 2002. This is a novel but thought to be somewhat autobiographical, though Kertesz denies it. Kertesz has painted such compelling and fascinating perspective of the holocaust through the eyes of a boy.
http://www.houstonbookclub.com/fateless.htm

Then there is Kurt vonneguts slaughterhouse five. Also a novel that described the Dresden bombing, which Vonnegut experienced. Though this is a love or hate book I think it is well worth reading. His acceptance of circumstance made me wonder.

So yes both are well done fiction by people who have first hand accounts.

Kardamom's avatar

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher.

canidmajor's avatar

Thanks, all! Some of these I’ve read, and others I look forward to exploring.

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