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WWI/inter-war book recommendations please!

(25 Posts)
GileadWivesAreFashionIcons Sat 09-Feb-19 19:23:00

Hi all,

I’ve recently read The Blind Assassin and The Dust That Falls From Dreams and I’ve got a bit of a taste for fiction set in this era - does anyone have any recommendations please? Also willing to try non-fiction set in the same time period to be honest!

OP’s posts: |
SinkGirl Sat 09-Feb-19 19:24:27

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is one of my favourite books but it’s more Second World War era - I would strongly recommend it though!

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Sun 10-Feb-19 04:06:35

All Quiet on the Western Front is a beautiful, but devastatingly sad, book about the experiences of German soldiers on the French battlefields. By Erich Maria Remarque.

Vera Brittain’s series of autobiographies, Testament of Youth and Testament of Experience cover the years before, during and after WWI.

Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.

I enjoyed Rennie Airth’s mystery novels set immediately after the war, dealing with a police detective returning to his job in the aftermath of fighting in France.

For non-fiction, Barbara Tuchmann’s towering August 1914, which covers the events leading up to, and the first month of the Great War.

Goodreads has a much longer list.

TooOldForThisWhoCares Sun 10-Feb-19 05:19:41

Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy is excellent.

SkirmishOfWit Sun 10-Feb-19 08:59:42

I’ve just finished Old Baggage by Lissa Evans, set in 1928-33, covers aftermath of War and women’s suffrage movement, very good.

Mariana by Monica Dickens is set between the wars, up The the outbreak of the Second.

SkirmishOfWit Sun 10-Feb-19 09:01:28

Also second All Quiet on the Western Front.

tobee Sun 10-Feb-19 16:10:58

Also by Pat Barker Life Class, Toby's Room and Noonday. A trilogy. The characters are women and men, so not all about fighting. The third is set in World War II

tobee Sun 10-Feb-19 16:16:15

Also the novel Not So Quiet by Helen Zenner Smith, a young woman driving ambulances in WWI. We That Were Young another novel set the in the first war; this by Irene Rathbone. Both really excellent and not so well known.

LurkyMcLurky Sun 10-Feb-19 19:20:15

Persephone books have republished lots of contemporary interwar novels. Some of my particular favourites are Saplings by Noel Streatfeild about a middle-class family in the years leading up to WW2, The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby and Consequences by E.M. Delafield (Diary of a Provincial Lady).

Non-fiction, The Thirties by Juliet Gardiner is chunky but covers the period well.

We Danced All Night by Martin Pugh - a social history of Britain between the wars.

I wrote my dissertation on women during the interwar years so I did get incredibly into the period!

Maisy80 Sun 10-Feb-19 19:23:34

The Spanish Farm Trilogy R H Mottram
Goodbye to All That. Robert Graves
Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man. Siegfried Sassoon
Nothing of Importance, Bernard Adams

TheFifthKey Sun 10-Feb-19 19:24:22

Love on the Dole is good, as is I’m Not Complaining by Ruth Adam (a novel based on her experiences as a teacher - very down to earth and eye-opening).

TheFifthKey Sun 10-Feb-19 19:24:39

Cold Comfort Farm, too.

GileadWivesAreFashionIcons Sun 10-Feb-19 19:45:19

Brilliant, thanks for so many fab suggestions! I’m a little ashamed to admit that I actually have a couple of those mentioned already, unread, so I shall start with them! blush

Skirmish I’ve also just finished Old Baggage, I really enjoyed it. Have you read any of Lissa Evans other stuff? I’m tempted by the one which had the preview chapter in the back of OB (I forget the name!)

OP’s posts: |
SkirmishOfWit Sun 10-Feb-19 20:45:40

Yes - it’s Crooked Heart - it picks up Mattie and the 6/7 years later at the start of WW2 and follows I read that one first (she wrote it first) and really enjoyed it. Their Finest Hour and a Half is also good, but has a different feel to it. It is about film making during the War. It’s very well researched.

SkirmishOfWit Sun 10-Feb-19 20:46:35

Sorry that meant to say “Mattie and the boy Noel” but it disappeared!

Clankboing Sun 10-Feb-19 20:53:26

Testament of Youth - the film is good too. Currently reading Charlotte Sometimes to my daughter too - for children but I liked it.

tobee Mon 11-Feb-19 16:08:31

Charlotte Sometimes one of my favourite books! @Clankboing

UrbaneSprawl Tue 12-Feb-19 12:30:41

For something a bit lighter, Catriona McPherson's 'Dandy Gilver' series of whodunits are set just after WW1, among the gentry of central Scotland. I particularly liked The Winter Ground, which is about fairground folk.

Isherwood's books about Weimar-era Germany are still worth a read too.

I also enjoyed Alan Furst's books set just before the outbreak of WW2 (Spies of the Balkans etc.) - and from a similar sort of period, Laurie Lee and Patrick Leigh Fermor's accounts of their travels ( As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Time Of Gifts respectively)

GileadWivesAreFashionIcons Sat 16-Feb-19 13:06:17

Thanks again everyone!

OP’s posts: |
eddiemairswife Sat 16-Feb-19 13:21:36

Most of George Orwell's novels were written before WW2. I find it interesting to compare novels from the inter-war years with novels set at that time, but written post-war.

JingsMahBucket Sat 16-Feb-19 13:28:30


Mammatron Sat 16-Feb-19 13:47:14

Have you read Ken Follets Century Trilogy? If not I highly recommend!

cdtaylornats Sat 16-Feb-19 22:27:46

Edward Marston's Home Front Detective series

toomuchsplother Sun 17-Feb-19 14:54:27

Wake - Anna Hope deals with the aftermath of WW1 from the perspective of three women. Based around the time of the unknown solider being brought back from France and buried in Westminster Abbey.
The Cazalet Chronicles- Elizabeth Jane Howard. Maybe be a little late for your time window but brilliant. Family Saga set over 5 books from 1938 to early 1950's.
Second all the Pat Barker recommendations.

buckingfrolicks Sun 17-Feb-19 15:07:46

a dance to the music of time covers that period. It's wonderful

Also Patrick white, who wrote between the wars about life between the wars. Amazing. He killed his leg poor sod.

The Chamomile Lawn books too

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