This November marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Historians still don’t agree on precisely what the war was fought over, why it began and ended as it did, and—perhaps most important—what we are supposed to have learned from it. Such ambiguity might be unsettling, but it also proves a fascinating subject for fiction. Indeed, the remarkable complexity of the war and its aftermath inspired me to spend the better part of a decade researching and writing a novel, THE VERDUN AFFAIR—the story of a young American who finds himself ensnared in a precarious romance, and absorbed by the case of a mysterious amnesiac, when he meets a complicated and beautiful woman who has come to France in search of her missing husband. What follows are just a few of my favorite of the many wonderful novels on World War I.
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway’s craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway’s own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.
The Booker Prize-winning first book in the brilliant trilogy that examines and skewers the madness of the war by telling as fiction the true story of poet and officer Siegfried Sassoon, who upon declaring he would not fight was sent to a mental hospital for "shell-shocked" soldiers where he was treated by noted psychiatrist Dr. William Rivers. Sassoon's complete sanity disturbs Dr. Rivers to such a point that he questions his own role in "curing" his patients only to send them back to the slaughter of the war. Read the first book and you will have to read the rest.