Some Classics a farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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Pequannock Township Public Library

World War I - Commemorative Reading Program

Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015

Some suggested titles

Some Classics

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto—of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized—is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway. (Simon and Schuster)

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (translated from the German by A. W. Wheen)

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other--if only he can come out of the war alive. (Random House, Inc.)

August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

In his monumental narrative of the outbreak of the First World War and the ill-fated Russian offensive into East Prussia, Solzhenitsyn has written what Nina Krushcheva, in The Nation, calls "a dramatically new interpretation of Russian history." The assassination of tsarist prime minister Pyotr Stolypin, a crucial event in the years leading up to the Revolution of 1917, is reconstructed from the alienating viewpoints of historical witnesses. The sole voice of reason among the advisers to Tsar Nikolai II, Stolypin died at the hands of the anarchist Mordko Bogrov, and with him perished Russia's last hope for reform. Translated by H.T. Willetts. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon

A highly decorated English soldier and an acclaimed poet and novelist, Siegfried Sassoon won fame for his trilogy of fictionalized autobiographies that wonderfully capture the vanishing idylls of Edwardian England and the brutal realities of war. The second volume of Siegfried Sassoon's semiautobiographical George Sherston trilogy picks up shortly after Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man: in 1916, with the young Sherston deep in the trenches of WWI. For his decorated bravery, and also his harmful recklessness, he is soon sent to the Fourth Army School for officer training, then dispatched to Morlancourt, a raid, and on through the Somme. After being wounded by a bullet through the lung, he returns home to convalesce, where his questioning of the war and the British Military establishment leads him to write a public anti-war letter (verbatim the letter Sassoon wrote in 1917, entitled "Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration", which was eventually read in the British House of Commons). Through the help of close friend David Cromlech (based on Sassoon's friend Robert Graves) a medical board decides not to prosecute, but instead deem him to be mentally ill, suffering from shell-shock, and sends him to a hospital for treatment. Sassoon's stunning portrayal of a mind coming to terms with the brutal truths he has encountered in war—as well as his unsentimental, though often poetic, portrayal of class-defined life in England at wartime—is amongst the greatest books ever written about World War I, or war itself. (Penguin Putnam) The final book in the trilogy is Sherston’s Progress. After six months in the hospital, Sherston leaves to rejoin his regiment. He is soon dispatched to Ireland, where he attempts to reclaim some of the idyllic fox-hunting days of his youth, then to Palestine. He finally ends up at the Western Front in France, where he is shot in the head while on a reconnaissance mission and invalided back home. (Penguin Putnam)

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

It was the war to end all wars, the global struggle that would finally make the world safe for democracy – at any cost. But one American soldier has paid a price beyond measure. And within the disfigured flesh that was once a vision of youth lives a spirit that cannot accept what the world has become. An immediate bestseller upon its original publication in 1939. (Citadel Press)

Front line soldiers and spys

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S.Duffy

When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing and leaves Canada to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. (WW Norton)

The First of July by Elizabeth Speller

On July 1st, 1913, four very different men are leading four very different lives. Exactly three years later, it is just after seven in the morning, and there are a few seconds of peace as the guns on the Somme fall silent and larks soar across the battlefield, singing as they fly over the trenches. What follows is a day of catastrophe in which Allied casualties number almost one hundred thousand. A horror that would have been unimaginable in pre-war Europe and England becomes a day of reckoning, where their lives will change forever, for Frank, Benedict, Jean-Batiste, and Harry. (WW Norton)

The Absolutist by John Boyne

It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will--from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain. (Random House)

1914 by Jean Echenoz (translated from the French by Linda Coverdale)

“Jean Echenoz, considered by many to be the most distinguished and versatile living French novelist, turns his attention here to the death trap of World War I. In 1914, five Frenchmen go off to war, two of them leaving behind the same young woman who longs for their return. But the main character in this impeccable novel is the Great War itself. Echenoz lease us from a balmy summer day deep into the relentless carnage of trench warfare, still unthinkable one hundred year later.” (Perseus Publishing)

To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara

From Blackjack Pershing to the Marine in the trenches, from the Red Baron to the American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, To the Last Man is written with the moving vividness and accuracy that characterizes all of Shaara’s work. This spellbinding new novel carries readers–the way only Shaara can–to the heart of one of the greatest conflicts in human history, and puts them face-to-face with the characters who made a lasting impact on the world. - (Random House, Inc.)

Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington

Our hero is George Winterbourne, who enlists in the British Expeditionary Army during the Great War and gets sent to France. After a rash of casualties leads to his promotion through the ranks, he grows increasingly cynical about the war and disillusioned by the hypocrisies of British society. Aldington's writing about Britain's ignorance of the tribulations of its soldiers is among the most biting ever published.

The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Cornwall, 1920. Daniel Branwell has survived the First World War and returned to the small fishing town where he was born. Behind him lie the trenches and the most intense relationship of his life. As he works on the land, struggling to make a living in the aftermath of war, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the traumas of the past and memories of his dearest friend and his first love. Above all, as the drama unfolds, Daniel is haunted by the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie. Set in France during the First World War and in post-war Cornwall, this is a deeply moving and mesmerizing story of the men who marched away.( Perseus Publishing)

Regeneration by Pat Barker

It is the summer of 1917. World War I has turned Europe into a charnel house in which military madness and political callousness spur senseless slaughter. In England, Siegfried Sassoon, a perfectly bred gentleman, highly decorated combat officer, and brilliant poet writes a letter publicly disavowing the war. Only strings pulled in high places save him: instead of imprisonment, he is found to be “Mentally unsound” and is sent to Criaglockhart War Hospital, where there is a psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, renowned for curing such sad cases. The relationship between these two men, doctor and patient, becomes a parable of the struggle between social “responsibility” and individual conscience in a world where the line between sanity and insanity has become hideously arbitrary. The doctor, intelligent and humane, must come to terms with his duty to make fighting men whole again for a war in which he cannot believe. Sassoon, for his part, must find a way to sustain his rebellion against the very system that formed him and come to terms with his desertion of his comrades still in arms…(Penguin Putnam)

Toby’s Room by Pat Barker

A portrait of an upper-class family torn by World War I centers on an anguished sister whose beloved brother goes missing in action, in an epic tale that explores the experiences of the family members and the working-class people who support them. (Baker & Taylor)

The Star of Istanbul by Robert Butler

American spy and war correspondent Christopher Marlowe Cobb follows a man who may be a German secret service agent with vital information on to the Lusitania during World War I. (Baker & Taylor)

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

At the urging of his friend Elijah, a Cree boy raised in reserve schools, Xavier joins the war effort. Shipped off to Europe when they are nineteen, the boys are marginalized from the Canadian soldiers not only by their native appearance but also by the fine marksmanship that years of hunting in the bush have taught them. Both become snipers renowned for their uncanny accuracy. But while Xavier struggles to understand the purpose of the war and to come to terms with his conscience for the many lives he has ended, Elijah becomes obsessed with killing, taking great risks to become the most accomplished sniper in the army. Eventually the harrowing and bloody truth of war takes its toll on the two friends in different, profound ways. Intertwined with this account is the story of Niska, who herself has borne witness to a lifetime of death,the death of her people. In part inspired by the legend of Francis Pegahmagabow, the great Indian sniper of World War I, Three-Day Road is an impeccably researched and beautifully written story that offers a searing reminder about the cost of war. -(Penguin Putnam)

The Wings of Morning by Murray Pura

Young Amish air pilot Jude must decide whether to enlist in the army during World War I, which may save his entire community from persecution, but may also cause him to be shunned by those he loves, including his beloved Lyyndaya. (Baker & Taylor)

Women of the War

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally

IN 1915, Naomi and Sally Durance, two spirited Australian sisters, join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Though they are used to tending the sick, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first on a hospital ship near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front. Yet amid the carnage, the sisters become the friends they never were at home and find themselves courageous in the face of extreme danger and also the hostility from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humor, and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the remarkable women they serve alongside. In France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccentric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their newfound independence—if only they all survive. (Simon and Schuster)

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

Defying her parents, Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford, during World War I, moves to London and becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, which takes her close to the Western Front where she falls in love with a handsome Scottish surgeon. (Baker & Taylor)

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in. A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield. In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation. (Little, Brown and Co.)

A Good Woman by Danielle Steel

Her life and family changed forever by the sinking of the Titanic and betrayed by the scandalous secrets of her husband, Annabelle Worthington flees New York for war-torn France, where, in a field hospital run by women in the midst of World War I, she finds her true calling in medicine, until years later, a fateful encounter brings her face to face with her past. (Baker & Taylor)

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything-her family, her reputation, and her life-to see her husband again. (Viking)

Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

Independent-minded Bess Crawford's upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. At the outbreak of WWI, she volunteers for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, she promises to a deliver a message from a dying officer to his brother. Once she's able to do so, she's disturbed at the brother's indifferent reception of the message, and when an unexpected turn of events provides her with an opportunity to stay with the family for a short time, she takes it. - (Baker & Taylor) Other titles by this author featuring Bess Crawford are

An Impartial Witness , A Bitter Truth, An Unmarked Grave, A Question of Honor
Before and After the War

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits...Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House...two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution...Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London...These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic. (Penguin Putnam)

A Star for Mrs . Blake by April Smith

The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women. (Random House, Inc.)

Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf

Written as a series of episodes, a modernist portrait of the life of Jacob Flanders is based solely on the observations of others, from those who knew him well, to those who merely passed him on the street, from his childhood to his early death during World War I, in an annotated version of the classic novel. (Baker & Taylor)

All Our Worldly Goods by Irène Némirovsky (translated from the French by Sandra Smith)

Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death, All Our Worldly Goods is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations. (Random House, Inc.)

The Blindness of the Heart by Julia Granck (translated from the German by anthea Bell)

Winner of the German Book Prize and a finalist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Blindness of the Heart is a dark marvel of a novel by one of Europe's freshest young voices---a family story spanning two world wars and several generations in a German family. (Perseus Publishing)

The Man from St. Petersburg by Ken Follett

Just before World War I, two men--one, a noble Russian emissary, the other, a denizen of Europe's underground--set in motion a concatenation of world-shaking, ultimately fatal events. (Baker & Taylor)

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

A story that intertwines the lives of two very different couples during World War I follows army soldier Riley as he fights for the love of Nadine despite a terrible injury, and Riley's commanding officer Peter Locke, who returns home from the war a bitter and scarred man. (Baker & Taylor)

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

Damaged but not broken by his service in the Great War, and living a solitary widower's life in a London attic, accidental detective Laurence Bartram looks into the suspicious death of an old friend and discovers much more than he wishes to. (Houghton)

Alfred and Emily by Doris Lessing

A deeply personal meditation on family, parents and children, war and memory takes the Nobel Prize-winning author back to her childhood in Southern Africa and the lives, both fictional and factual, that her parents led in the wake of the devastation of the Great War. (Baker & Taylor)

Life Class by Pat Barker

A novel capturing the devastation and psychological trauma of the Great War on every level of British society focuses on a group of young art students, including Paul Tarrant, a Red Cross volunteer, who discovers that life, love, and art will never be the same. - (Baker & Taylor)

Gifts of War by Mackenzie Ford

When British soldier Hal Montgomery is invalided back to England during World War I, he carries out the promise he made to a German soldier and passes on a message to the man's English girlfriend, only to fall in love with her. (Baker & Taylor)

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

In her first case, private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I. (Baker & Taylor) Other WWI based novels by this author include Pardonable Lies, Birds of a Feather, The Mapping of Love and Death and Among the Dead.

The Red Door by Charles Todd

In post-World War I England, Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge faces a wall of silence as he attempts to bring a ruthless killer to justice for the bludgeoning death of a Lancashire woman and the murder of a man who never came home from the Great War. (Harper Collins)

We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry

In November 1918, as the guns of World War I fall silent, the Reavley siblings discover the identity of the Peacemaker, the man who had murdered their parents, but when Matthew is accused of the murder of a young nurse, his chaplain brother Joseph and ambulance driver sister Judith must race against time to clear his name, before they can unmask the traitor. (Baker & Taylor) Other WWI based novels by Anne Perry include

No Graves Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom and At Some Disputed Barricade.

Deafening by Frances Itani

Left profoundly deaf from scarlet fever, Grania O'Neill grows up protected from the hearing world and learning sign language, but her life changes when she falls in love with Jim Lloyd, a hearing man, on the eve of the Great War. (Baker & Taylor)

Touchstone by Laurie R. King

Left with an extraordinary sensitivity that allows him to determine the lies and deceptions of everyday life with a mere touch after the Great War, Bennett Grey lives a quiet and reclusive life away from the world, until he is called in by the British government, which needs his touchstone talent to find a terrorist amid a lethal tangle of supposed allies. (Baker & Taylor)

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Returning to his quiet German village home after World War I, trained killer Fidelis Waldvogel, accompanied by his wife, leaves to start a new life in America and finds his life irrevocably changed by a new relationship. (Baker & Taylor)


Age 14 by Geert Spillebeen (YA Fiction)

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Patrick Condon wants to escape his unexciting life in Ireland. So he hatches a plan. Not wanting to wait until he is old enough to join the army, Patrick lies and says he seventeen years old, and that his name is John Condon. Assuming the identity of his older brother, Patrick enlists. John fits in quickly, though it is obvious that John is not 17, or even 16. That doesn’t matter. John is strong, fast, and a hard worker. He loves military life. This man’s world is just what John wanted. But when WWI begins in 1914, John gets all he has been looking for, and more he does not expect, as he is just a boy. (Houghton)

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost (YA Fiction)

In their own voices, four young people, Muriel, Frank, Emma, and Ollie, tell of their experiences during the first World War, as the boys enlist and are sent overseas, Emma finishes school, and Muriel fights for peace and women's suffrage.

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick (YA fiction)

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don't do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected--she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas. Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death. - (Random House, Inc.)

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (YA Fiction)

When Thomas Peaceful's older brother is forced to join the British Army, Thomas decides to sign up as well, although he is only fourteen years old, to prove himself to his country, his family, his childhood love, Molly, and himself. - (Baker & Taylor)

Remembrance by Theresa Breslin (YA Fiction)

It was the largest conflict the world had ever known. It covered three continents and lasted five years. Millions of soldiers returned wounded, millions more never returned at all. In the summer of 1915, in a small village in Scotland, the Great War has already begun to irrevocably alter the course of five young lives. Eighteen-year-old John Malcolm enlists in the army, eager to fight for his country. His sweetheart, 15-year-old Charlotte, stays behind to earn her nursing certificate, along with John Malcolm’s twin sister, Maggie, who recognizes the opportunity to create a new life for herself. Charlotte’s brother, Francis, sees only tragedy in the war, but feels the pressure to join up. And Alex, below the recruiting age, is determined to reach the front lines somehow. - (Random House, Inc.)
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