Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Books About The Great War: World War I Novels and Films

On April 6, 1917, the U. S. officially entered World War I. President Wilson tried to keep the U.S. out of the war, even after the sinking of the Lusitania, until the British intercepted a secret message. Apparently, Germany had promised the U.S. to Mexico if Mexico would support the German cause.

Also known as the Great War, this conflict lasted from 1914-1918 and was the fifth deadliest war in the world’s history.

The war involved most of the world’s countries that eventually formed into two separate alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers. 

The underlying cause of the war was the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The murder set off a diplomatic crisis and within weeks the war began.

On the following international list are some of the best World War I novels of all time:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque--told from a German soldier's point of view--considered one of the best war novels of all time.

August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn--the outbreak of war told from a Russian point of view.

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres--about the changes of a small town when Turkey enters the modern world.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks--a realistic and romantic novel about love and war.

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally--about 2 Australian sisters who volunteer as nurses during the war.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett--epic story of 5 families through war, revolution, and women's suffrage.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway--based on the author's experiences in the Italian ambulance service during the war.

Flanders by Patricia Anthony--the powerful memories of one young soldier.

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo--an anti-war novel about a soldier who loses all his limbs.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear--first book in a mystery series about a nurse/investigator in post-war London.

One of Ours by Willa Cather--Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the making of an American soldier.

Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford--follows the English ruling class as the country descends into the chaos of war.

Regeneration by Pat Barker--first in a trilogy about the gritty realism and horror of war.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden--follows the journey of two Cree men who become snipers.

Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos--a searing novel exposing the fate of the common soldier.

Here are some of the best WWI films (*=based on a book):

*African Queen

*All Quiet on the Western Front

*Blue Max

*A Farewell To Arms

Gallipoli--about two Australian soldiers during the deadly Gallipoli Campaign.

*Grand Illusion

*In Love and War

*Lawrence of Arabia

*Legends of the Fall

Passchendaele--about the experiences of a Canadian soldier.

Sergeant York--from the diary of Sgt. Alvin York who was one of the most decorated American soldiers of WWI.

*War Horse


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