Many years have passed since the First World War came to an end and the guns stopped firing. Literature, whether written by people who were there or by people who wanted to pay tribute, has kept the Great War and the people who died in it in our minds.
Here, we’ve put together a list of the best books about World War One. They range from enthralling fiction to moving poetry collections to unfathomable first-hand accounts. If you’re into history and want more ideas for your next book, check out our list of the best historical fiction novels.
A World on Edge by Daniel Schönpflug
A World on Edge shows Europe in 1918, after World War I. It shows how Europe was left in ruins by the war. With the end of war, a new start seems not only possible, but also necessary. During this time, there are a lot of different ideas: new politics, new societies, new art and culture, and new thought.
The fight to decide the future has begun. Daniel Schönpflug, a historian, talks about how this watershed year was seen from the point of view of people who lived through it. It was open-ended, hard to understand, and the outcome was unknown.
Forgotten Voices Of The Great War by Max Arthur
In Forgotten Voices, a book about the First World War, the people who lived through it tell their own stories. It’s a good record of the big things that happened from 1914 to 1918. This is a fascinating history of World War One from people who were there. It was put together by the Imperial War Museum’s aural archive.
Love Letters of the Great War by Mandy Kirkby
There are a lot of heartfelt letters in this collection. There are also heartbreaking stories of fear, jealousy, and betrayal. There are also sweet dreams of home. That portrait is found in every letter written by troops on the front lines or by their families who were left behind. It shows how love and war can be real, even when they’re not.
A century after the start of the First World War, these letters give an intimate look into the hearts of men and women who were separated by war. They show how love can be stronger than even the darkest and most devastating of realities.
A History of the First World War by B. H. Liddell Hart
Liddell Hart is a well-known military strategist and historian who fought on the Western Front. He is able to make good tactical decisions while also feeling for people who died on the battlefield. He paints a vivid and fascinating picture of all of the major campaigns, combining evidence from documents with the testimonies of people who were there. This way, he can show why some things went wrong and how they could have been avoided.
History: From the political and cultural roots of war to the twists and turns of battle, to the critical decisions that led to so many deaths, and to the impact on modern countries, this book is a true military classic.
The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire by David Olusoga
History professor David Olusoga has written a very important book about how Europe’s Great War became the World’s War, and he talks about the experiences and sacrifices of four million people who were not European or white.
David Olusoga’s The World’s War is a unique look at the millions of colonial troops who fought in the First World War and why they were later erased from history. It’s a must-read.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
He is an American Lieutenant in the Italian army’s ambulance service during the First World War, and he is from the United States. Catherine Barkley, an English nurse who lives in northern Italy, is the woman he falls in love with. Their love is strong, tender, and passionate, but it is overshadowed by the war. Ernest Hemingway doesn’t hold back when he talks about the horrors of war, but he paints a vivid picture of the courage shown by so many people.
The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason
Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when the First World War breaks out in Europe in 1914. Enthralled by the romantic stories of battlefield surgery, he joins the military, hoping to work at a well-run field hospital. But when he gets there, he finds a shivering, typhus-ravaged outpost in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains. It was a church that had been taken over by the Nazis. The other doctors have left, and there is only one nurse named Sister Margarete left.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
This book has been widely praised by both critics and readers all over the world. It tells the story of three generations and the unimaginable distance between the First World War and today. When Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, moves to Amiens in 1910, this is the story of his life. Over the course of the book, he has a lot of bad things happen to him. These things include a secret love affair that breaks up the family he lives with, as well as the war itself.
The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
When did this happen? It was in 1917, in Scotland, In Scotland, William Rivers, an army psychiatrist, helps soldiers who have been hit by shells before they are sent back to the front. There are two great writers in his care: Siegfried Sassoon is one of them, and Wilfred Owen is the other. Billy Prior, who can only communicate with a pencil and paper, is also there.
Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road follow the stories of these men until the war is over. They all take place in the last months. Pat Barker’s “Regeneration” trilogy is widely praised and well-loved. It shows the long-term effects of a war that killed a generation.
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Ken Follett’s book, which is about five families who live before, during, and after World War II, has been praised for its accuracy.
When Russia goes through a bloody revolution and the Great War starts, the five families’ futures are bound together forever. Love brings them together even as conflict pushes them apart. This century is going to be filled with more tragedy. What seeds will be sowed, and what role will each play in what comes next?
Poems from the First World War by Gaby Morgan
People who were in the First World War wrote poems about their experiences, and Poems from the First World War is a collection of those poems. It includes poems by soldiers, nurses, mothers, sweethearts, and family and friends who were there. In this book, you can read about the excitement and patriotism of the early days of the war, as well as the bravery, friendship, and loyalty of the soldiers. It also shows how the war impacted a whole generation.
Poetry of the First World War by Marcus Clapham
The major poets are all in this beautiful Macmillan Collector’s Library anthology, Poetry of the First World War, along with many others whose voices aren’t as well known. Their verse is paired with modern motifs. Rupert Brooke, Charles Hamilton Sorley, Siegfried Sassoon, and Wilfred Owen all wrote powerful poems about the war, and they were all very different from each other.
Some Desperate Glory by Max Egremont
We get a new look at the poets of World War One in Some Desperate Glory by Max Egremont, a historian and biographer. He shows us how their lives and work changed. The poetry of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Ivor Gurney, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, Robert Nichols, and Ivor Gurney is a bold act of creativity in the face of unprecedented destruction. They all fought in the war.
How Can a Pigeon Be a War Hero? And Other Very Important Questions and Answers About the First World War by Tracey Turner
In what way did the First World War start? A fight was taking place. Inside the first tank sent to war, what was it like? To get away from being caught, how could you use a shaving brush to do this? The Women’s Land Army was a group of women who worked on the land. Because it took so long. How did it finish? Find out the answers to these and many other interesting questions in Tracey Turner’s book, which was written with the help of the Imperial War Museum.
The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay
With her older brother, Clarry and Rupert live in Cornwall for the summer. They stay with their grandparents and run around the countryside with Rupert, who is very interesting. But each September, Peter and Rupert go to boarding school, and Clarry spends her days at home with her absent father. As the shadow of a terrible war grows closer, things go back to normal.
Whenever Rupert goes to fight at the front, Clarry feels like their skylark summers are finally coming to an end for them. Can their family make it through this terrifying war?