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WWI Fiction

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WWI Fiction

Postby diamondlil » Sat August 30th, 2008, 9:55 am

Similarly to the link that I posted for WWII fiction, here is a starting point for fiction to read about WWI


Postby annis » Sat August 30th, 2008, 10:56 am

I'll make a start with one i read recently- ""Empire of Sand" by Robert Ryan.
A thriller set on the Arabian Peninsula during the First World War, which features T.E Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) pitting his wits against his counterpart, the charismatic German agent Wilhelm Wassmuss (also a real-life character), in a race to gain the hearts and minds of the Arab tribes.
An entertaining fictional adventure which attempts to shed some light on the nature of the enigmatic Lawrence.

Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:01 pm

btw, an excellent biography to go along with that time period is Desert Queen, the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell. She was a contemporary of Lawrence and like him love everything about the middle east. She traveled extensively and ultimately was involved with the drawing the lines in the sand. Sad end to her life, but a fascinating read.


I just noticed that she got a ton of negative reviews; I had some quibbles about it, but I found her life itself fascinating, given how important she was and how I'd never had heard of her!

Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:13 pm

My favorite WWI books:

Johnny Got His Gun Daltron Trumbo

All Quiet on the Western Front

Pat Bakers trilogy (first one Regeneration is esp outstanding)

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I know I am forgetting many, but those come to mind first. Ironically I just received Last Summer in the World by Emily Mitchell. We'll see if this gets added on.

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Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sat August 30th, 2008, 2:58 pm

I want to read The Crimson Portrait: A Novel by Jody Shields but havent been able to yet.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.


Postby annis » Sat August 30th, 2008, 8:05 pm

Ash, Gertrude Bell does make an appearance in "Empire of Sand," as does reporter Lowell Thomas, who was an interesting guy - an adventurous journalist-type willing to go anywhere in search of a story. He spent time in the desert with T.E. Lawrence and pretty much created the whole "Lawrence of Arabia" legend.
He appeared in David Lean's movie "Lawrence of Arabia" as American journalist Jackson Bentley, played by Arthur Kennedy.
One thing i discovered from Robert Ryan's notes is that all of T.E. Lawrence's writings, including various letters, are now available online.

Lowell Thomas also added to the fame of WWI merchant raider captain Count Felix von Luckner with his book "Sea Devil".
Douglas Reeman's WWI novel "The Last Raider" is obviously inspired by the adventures of Von Luckner and his famous ship "Seeadler" (Sea Eagle).
Last edited by annis on Sat August 30th, 2008, 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Sat August 30th, 2008, 8:32 pm

Anne Perry's five book series on WWI is interesting, and very gripping in spots. The books are

No Graves as Yet
Shoulder the Sky
Angels in the Gloom
At Some Disputed Barricade
We Shall Not Sleep

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Location: Winter Haven, Florida

Postby donroc » Sat August 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm

Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms
The Blue Max I forgot the author's name.
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Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.



Postby annis » Sat August 30th, 2008, 9:10 pm

Also worth a read - Ben Elton's biting take on WW1 in his historical mystery, "The First Casualty".
The story follows ex-Scotland Yard detective Douglas Kingsley to the Western Front - his task, to solve the politically embarrassing murder of an aristocratic British war hero in Flanders. Although the murderer is found, the real mystery remains unsolved and unsolvable - how can one death be murder, yet thousands not?
A bit more serious than some of Elton's work but it still contains touches of his usual black humor. One of the stand-out scenes for me was a wonderfully concise explanation of how the war began, as propounded by a group of British soldiers taking a communal crap in the trenches during a break in the bombardment. Absolutely brilliant!

Just had the thought that it might be useful to add a link to Margaret's Historical Novels Info listing of WWI fiction:
Last edited by annis on Sat August 30th, 2008, 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sat August 30th, 2008, 11:09 pm

Oh, another Elton boook! I loved This Other Eden, and loved the work he did in Black Adder. I will have to get this, and soon.

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