To mark Remembrance Day, we wanted to put together a very special list of books to commemorate those lost during World War I and World War II. Books on this subject remain an important part of bookshelves all over the world and serve as a reminder to those we lost and the horrors we hope never to relive.
For the soldiers who left their homes without knowing when and if they would ever return, we want to take a moment to share with you some of the books that have touched our hearts.
Lest we forget.
Private Peaceful: Michael Morpurgo
Beloved by many children (and adults!), Private Peaceful is a beautiful award-winning book told through the eyes of Tommo, a young soldier looking back on his childhood memories on a night where he waits for dawn, a time creeping up all too soon – which will change the course of his life forever.
This book is award-winning for a reason and we couldn’t love it more.
Birdsong: Sebastian Faulks
Argued by many to be the most heartbreaking love story set during World War I, this saga follows the story of a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, and his frequent and horrific trials with love and war.
Filled with sharp and realistic detail of the hardships soldiers had to face in the trenches and a journey by tunnel beneath no man’s land, this is a book celebrated by many and deemed a modern classic of our time.
We won’t give out too many spoilers, apart from the fact it’s an excellent book!
Harry’s War: Harry Drinkwater
This is an autobiographical book focused on the real life experiences of heroic British soldier, Harry Drinkwater. A remarkable read told through moving diary extracts, it reveals the truths and horrors of war which many can only imagine.
The fight for justice and freedom in a world filled with violence is what keeps Harry going and his triumph in the face of war is one which captures the heart and emboldens the brave.
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
This book is set in Guernsey during 1946, portraying the trials people faced during German Occupancy in the years previous. Written entirely in letter form, the story follows the correspondence between a British author, Juliet Ashton, and Dawsey Adams of Guernsey, where they relate stories of war and find extraordinary friendship in each other.
A book full of hope and the importance of friendship during hard times is what makes this book particularly special.
The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (Penguin Classics)
It’s widely known that many soldiers wrote poetry during their time in the trenches. This collection is a moving account of the lives the soldiers of World War I lived. Each poem is written either to a loved one, to friends, or simply by means of expressing their thoughts and emotions in a world where someone seems to have turned out the light.
However, the will to triumph and never give up, to never forget, is at the forefront of every word on each page and this collection is one truly dear to our hearts.
Testament of Youth: Vera Brittain
This book offers a unique and intimate window into the life of Vera Brittain, a young woman who wrote an inspiring account of her life throughout World War I, revealing a shocking and emotive read.
When war began, she was 20 years old and forced to abandon her dream of studying at Oxford to help the war effort like many women of her generation. Along the way, she became a nurse to care for the wounded, lost the man she truly loved as a result of the trying times, and encountered unimaginable terrors of war.
Published in 1933, this book is truly as prevalent, powerful and moving back then as it is now.
If you have any books that you would like to share with us on this subject, please comment below.