Testament of Youth

( 4 )

Overview

Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Vera Brittain’s elegiac yet unsparing book, which set a standard for memoirists from Martha Gellhorn to Lillian Hellman. Abandoning her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, Brittain served in London, in Malta, and on the Western Front. By war’s end she had lost virtually everyone she loved. Testament of Youth is both a record of what she lived through and an elegy for a vanished generation. Hailed by the Times ...

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Overview

Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Vera Brittain’s elegiac yet unsparing book, which set a standard for memoirists from Martha Gellhorn to Lillian Hellman. Abandoning her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, Brittain served in London, in Malta, and on the Western Front. By war’s end she had lost virtually everyone she loved. Testament of Youth is both a record of what she lived through and an elegy for a vanished generation. Hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as a book that helped "both form and define the mood of its time," it speaks to any generation that has been irrevocably changed by war.

• New introduction by Brittain's biographer examines her struggles to write about her experiences and the book's reception in England and America

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
11/01/2013
Brittain served as a nurse on the western front. At war's end, who among those she loved was left? Published in 1933, a classic not simply on war but as a clear-eyed memoir of loss. (A 1979 BBC five-part dramatic adaptation is currently unavailable.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143039235
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 125,331
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Vera Brittain (1893–1970) served as a nurse in the British armed forces in World War I and afterward devoted herself to the causes of peace and feminism. She wrote twenty-nine books, of which Testament of Youth is the best-known.
Mark Bostridge is a biographer and literary critic who lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2001

    Kudos to Vera Brittain

    While researching the role of women in WWI, I originally borrowed 'Testament of Youth' by Vera Brittain from the public library. I didn't realize what a treat I was in for. I assumed that I would glean a few facts from the book and return it to the library. What happened was that I couldn't put it down. It was like reading a suspense novel, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and found myself in tears most of the time. It is sad that most of us have forgotten those gallant women. Some of us didn't even know they existed, or what they did. Their courage and endurance have faded into the past, buried in history, rarely remembered. I must return the book to the library, but have bought my own copy, I can't wait to loan it to my children and my friends. I wish Ms. Brittain were here today to know she's remembered with gratitude and praise.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    Powerful and important. Can't reoommend it high enough.

    Powerful and important. Can't reoommend it high enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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