There have been many classic accounts written chronicling the terrible man-made tragedy that was the First World War. Together with the many fine history books that have been published recently to commemorate the outbreak of war in August 1914, here is a representative selection of some of the best titles.
A young American volunteers for the Italian ambulance service in World War I. Working near the front, he meets and falls in love with a British nurse. Disillusioned by the war, he makes the decision to desert, taking his new love to Switzerland.
Alec and Jerry shouldn't have been friends: Alec's life was one of privilege, while Jerry's was one of toil. But this hardly mattered to two young men whose shared love of horses brought them together and whose whole lives lay ahead of them. When war breaks out in 1914, both Jerry and Alec sign up - yet for quite different reasons.
London, 1918. Billy Prior is working for Intelligence in the Ministry of Munitions. But his private encounters with women and men - pacifists, objectors, homosexuals - conflict with his duties as a soldier, and it is not long before his sense of himself fragments and breaks down.
Cornwall, 1920, early spring. A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family. Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.
In 1914, a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the 'glorious war'. With the fire and patriotism of youth, they sign up. What follows is the story of a young 'unknown soldier' experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.
Life in Britain during the First World War was far stranger than many of us realize. The author tells the story of the war through the experience of those who lived it - nurses, soldiers, politicians, factory-workers, journalists and children - explaining why we fought it so willingly, how we endured it so long, and how it transformed us all.
A novel about the Battle of the Somme told from the perspective of Bourne, an ordinary private. First published privately in 1929, it may amaze a new generation of readers with its depiction of the horror, the ordinariness and the humanity of war.