Voices of The Great War

“Like the troubled mind of a trauma patient, the conscience of later ages continues to return repeatedly to the Great War, simply because its events were too deranged and desolate―too far beyond the destructiveness even of earlier conflicts―ever to have been fully contained in mind and conscience” Stevenson (224).

The trauma of World War I impacted people from all walks of life and left lifelong scars on many. How people handle the trauma of a global conflict is a highly personal experience with varied responses and long term implications. For many survivors the process of writing down their individual experiences proved to be quite cathartic while others chose to depict the horrors of this conflict in fiction. Whether in fiction or factual account, the literature of The Great War provided future generations with a wealth of information. These works enable us to form a greater understanding of what the world would come to call “The War to End All Wars.”

The treasure trove of written information left to us about this fundamental moment in history is memorabilia we can all cherish. It serves as a reminder that:

“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Here is a link to Goodreads comprehensive list of “must read” WWI texts:


12 thoughts on “Voices of The Great War

  1. Thanks, Bonnie! That Stevenson quote sums up my own mind pretty well.

    The Goodreads page contains a list that combines fiction, poetry, history, memoir, cultural studies, and more. It also contains both works written during or adjacent to the war by those who lived through it and works written in the century that’s followed as writers have returned to that landscape, international crisis, and period of social change. This raises a question that haunts several of my classes, including LGW: who gets to write about specific history and trauma? I myself read books from both categories, though in LGW we will focus only on those works emerging directly from the war experience (broadly defined).

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