Earlier this year I gave some thought to pulling together a short reading list centred around WWI and its aftermath, but didn’t do anything about it other than mention it in passing. But a visit to the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London earlier this month, followed by a visit to Dryburgh Abbey while on holiday (relevant because as well as being the burial-place of Sir Walter Scott it also hosts the grave of Earl Haig) brought this back into focus, and as November is the month in which we commemorate the Armistice it seemed fitting that I concentrate my reading then.
So I’ve pulled together a very short list, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, about the war as it is happening and its impact afterwards. I would like to read them all in the month but we shall see how I get on.
- The Flowers of the Forest by Trevor Royle – Scotland and the First World War (actually bought in the Historic Scotland shop at Dryburgh)
- Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith – published in 1930 it presents the war through the eyes of a young woman who is an ambulance driver at the French front
- The End of the Age of Innocence by Alan Price – the story of Edith Wharton’s efforts on behalf of Belgian and French refugees
- Patrimony by Jane Thynne – “what is the truth about Valentine Siddons, acclaimed poet and World War One hero?”
- Wake by Anna Hope – a novel about three women awaiting the arrival of the Unknown Soldier
I thought long and hard about whether I should re-read Testament of Youth, a book that had a huge effect on me when I first read it as a teenager, but I may save that for a proper Vera Brittain project at a future date.