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WWI Fiction

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AuntiePam
Reader

Postby AuntiePam » Mon December 8th, 2008, 8:51 pm

"Lady of the Forest" wrote:Also I was worried it might be too much of a romance. So if anyone here has read this book can you give me your thoughts on it.


Re Birdsong, I could have done without the romance entirely, but that's just me, being a curmudgeon. People should be able to care about other people without being romantically involved. Gah. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Now if the romance is the focus of the book, that's different. Like A Very Long Engagement by Sebastian Japrisot. It was the search for her fiancee that prompted the heroine to investigate what happened to him during the war.

Another good WWI novel is Flanders by Patricia Anthony. That book is filled with love but it's blessedly short on romance.

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Leo62
Bibliophile
Location: London
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Postby Leo62 » Tue December 16th, 2008, 11:28 pm

"AuntiePam" wrote:Re Birdsong, I could have done without the romance entirely, but that's just me, being a curmudgeon. People should be able to care about other people without being romantically involved. Gah. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Now if the romance is the focus of the book, that's different. Like A Very Long Engagement by Sebastian Japrisot. It was the search for her fiancee that prompted the heroine to investigate what happened to him during the war.


I second that emotion :) Don't mind love/romance/relationships/sex whatever you want to call it as long as I care about the characters. The problem with the affair in Birdsong for me was that the characters weren't convincingly drawn so I just didn't give a damn whether they got it on or not. ;)

Alex Worthy
Scribbler

Postby Alex Worthy » Sat April 11th, 2009, 4:29 pm

I know this is an old post, but I recently read the Three Day Road by Boyden and it is such a good book I had to post. The main story is about two Cree Indians from Canada who go to the trenches. The back story is a fascinating look at two generations of Cree Indians who opted to live off the reservations and live in the traditional way. Really outstanding!

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Fri August 7th, 2009, 10:12 am

Has anyone read Gifts of War by Mackenzie Ford? It was featured on USA Today a couple of days ago, and is apparently written by a historian.
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love_uk
Reader
Location: Milwaukee & Northumberland

Wwi

Postby love_uk » Thu September 24th, 2009, 11:42 pm

To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara, 2004.

A novel of the First World War, including the voices of John "Black Jack" Pershing, the "Red Baron", the Lafayette Escadrille and the young Marines who save Paris. A National Bestseller and winner of the 2005 American Library Association's "Boyd" Award for Excellence

Became less interesting to me after the fliers' stories concluded but still, another fine Shaara book!
Joan

My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. ~Thomas Helm

Emms
Newbie

Postby Emms » Tue December 22nd, 2009, 8:59 pm

I looooooooved Birdsong! Yes, there's romance, but it's not like a romance novel at all. I hate romance novels. No offense meant to those who enjoy romance novels, I just don't like them very much-to me personally, they're cheesy and boring. Birdsong was neither of those things. It's so atmospheric and period-esque, it really conjures up the feel of those times.

Perhaps I'm biased because, although I do not like romance novels, I love a good love story sent against the context of wartime, but really I think anyone who's interested in World War I novels should at least give Birdsong a try.

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Tue December 22nd, 2009, 11:56 pm

Theres a big difference between a romance novel, and a novel with romance in it. I agree, the romance in Birdsong was a perfect story to go along with the rest of what was happening. Thats usually what I like - that the romance is not the end all be all for the characters.

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Wed December 23rd, 2009, 1:28 am

Late to the game here, but...

A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot is an excellent novel about the war's aftermath (the war is the theme). Much better than the film. Less 'literary' in style than Birdsong.

I loved the Elton book, thought the Perry novels were OK (although she gets tremendously carried away by deep, dark, evil conspiracies too much in this, as in the Thomas Pitt series). An alternative to the Perry novels is a short series by the late British mystery writer, Michael Gilbert. "Into Battle" is one of them.

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Across the Blood-Red Skies

Postby Margaret » Wed February 9th, 2011, 7:24 am

Annis has just contributed a review to HistoricalNovels.info of Across the Blood-Red Skies by Robert Radcliffe. It's about a young pilot during the Battle of Arras in WWI, when the survival rates for pilots were extremely low. Sounds like a good book (review here).
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu February 10th, 2011, 2:40 am

One reason why the British casualties were so high was their superannuated aircraft which were completely outclassed by superior German technology. The plane used by the RFC reconnaissance crews was the FE2, noted for being particularly slow and ungainly (I'm no aerodynamics expert, but I think it was something to do with the particularly wide wingspan in relation to body size). In Across the Blood-Red Skies George uses the derogatory nickname the "Balsa Bathtub" for the FE2, and as Radcliffe seems to know what he's talking about, i guess that was what actual Royal Flying Corps crews called it. Looking at photos I can see the body of the plane bears a distinct resemblance to an old-fashioned hip-bath.

One intriguing thing I discovered is that there is a company in New Zealand which reproduces these aircraft, and they have a great website with some amazing photos and video clips - well worth a look if you want to get a feel for what it was like to be high in the sky in one of these flimsy machines. Here is a photo showing the "Bathtub" in flight. The observer/gunner had to stand on his seat (midair-gulp!) to fire the rear-mounted gun. There is a dramatic scene in Across the Blood-Red Skies where George's observer falls out and is left hanging onto a strut. George ties the belt of his coat around the observer's wrist and flies back across enemy lines with the poor guy suspended from the plane!

Image
Vintage Aviator Company reproduction

"When you stood up to shoot [in the F.E.2b], all of you from the knees up was exposed to the elements. There was no belt to hold you. Only your grip on the gun and the sides of the nacelle stood between you and eternity. Toward the front of the nacelle was a hollow steel rod with a swivel mount to which the gun was anchored. This gun covered a huge field of fire forward. Between the observer and the pilot a second gun was mounted, for firing over the F.E.2b's upper wing to protect the aircraft from rear attack ... Adjusting and shooting this gun required that you stand right up out of the nacelle with your feet on the nacelle coaming. You had nothing to worry about except being blown out of the aircraft by the blast of air or tossed out bodily if the pilot made a wrong move. There were no parachutes and no belts. No wonder they needed observers." Frederick Libby, first American ace of WWI
Last edited by annis on Sat February 12th, 2011, 6:58 am, edited 26 times in total.


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