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.
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.
September 1919: Twenty-years-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a clutch of letters to Marian Bancroft. The letters, however, are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep within him.
Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland, 1917, and army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating shell-shocked soldiers. Under his care are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as mute Billy Prior, who is only able to communicate by means of pencil and paper. Rivers' job is to make the men in his charge healthy enough to fight.
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.
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.
For George Mallory as for all of his generation, death was but 'a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day'. As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. What mattered now was how one lived, and the moments of being alive.