Summer of the Great War

This summer I am reading through The Great War aka WWI.   I have never gotten beyond Sarajevo in my understanding and the time seems right to correct that.  My son Collin is joining me; we keep interrupting each other’s reading with a new insight just grasped.  He is currently reading Jeff Shaara’To the Last Man while I revel in Barbara Tuchman’s magnificent prose in The Guns of August.  My friend, LimboLady, getting some rest in between school sessions at our house, is engrossed in The Yanks are Coming which arrived from Amazon this morning. 

On our bookshelf, waiting to be read: 

Waiting at the library, all by the novelist Anne Perry:

World War I-related DVDs in our Netflix queue:


All Quiet on the Western Front

World War I in Color (Kenneth Branagh narrator)

Random Harvest

The Great War

Paths of Glory

The Fighting 69th

Sergeant York     

A World War I soldier’s blog:

WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier  “This blog is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin’s letters from
the first World War. The letters will be posted exactly 90 years after
they were written.
To find out Harry’s fate, follow the blog!”

11 thoughts on “Summer of the Great War

  1. How did you come up with your list…especially of the movies?  We haven’t studied much about that war, but would highly recommend Sgt. York’s diary… We enjoyed it so much several years ago as a read aloud.  The man had a poet’s soul!

  2. All Quiet on the Western Front – brings the daily life of the soldiers very much alive, or rather sadly alive. Many years ago (BC) I have read Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulkes – it has made a lasting impression – then … I will want to read it again – to compare feelings and thoughts then and now. 

  3. Carol,I finished the Guns of August last night and will be continuing on with my own study of WWI. Next up for me is Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves. I also added Breaker Morant to my Queue at Netflix. It is pre-WWI and the book A Month in the Country is a post WWI story, very touching. For fun I am reading through the Charles Todd Ian Rutledge novels.I also have The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson but it looks a little daunting at this point in my life.I always get a kick at how similar we are.

  4. @MargaretinVa – Hi Margaret!  It’s time for me to make your Vidalia onion dish!  I’ve been asking around and checking Netflix to come up with the list.  I couldn’t tell you about any except Gallipoli.  The first third of the movie, set in Western Australia, was wonderful.  From there the story went downhill and there were blips I would have rather not seen.  The futility of sending men out of the trenches to be shot down was sickening.The first time I heard of Gallipoli was after a local symphony played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor, one of The Most Moving minor adagios with strings.  The music was so incredible and a friend of a friend mentioned that it played a large role in Gallipoli.  Basically, whenever that adagio is playing, very sad things are about to happen.

  5. @Dominionfamily – Cindy!  It is lovely to hear from you. And you just finished The Guns of August.  Wow.  I’m scooping up all your recommendations with relish.  Thank you for sharing them.  Of course, I’m collecting more on my plate than I can eat, but it is great fun to pretend that I’ll get it all read and will understand WW1 better.  The joys of self-delusion endure, not forever, but for quite a long time!  Blessings on you my soon-to-be-grandma friend, baseball mom, caring daughter, former blogger.

  6. Carol, I’ve just been catching up on your blog entries and am absolutely fascinated by your review of Hannah Coulter. So much so that I went to our library site, found that they have it, and have reserved it. I seldom read novels but if this is half as good as you say ( and after all it was written by Wendell Berry) I expect to enjoy it thoroughly. Thanks for posting about it.

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