Abbie's War Era

Since reading Alice Winn's In Memoriam Abbie is reading nothing but war-related books.  Here are eight of our favourites, discover a whole host more on our list.


In Memoriam by Alice Winn

"A tender, affecting debut . . . Winn strikingly evokes the torment and brutality of life of the front" - The Times

Tracing the love story between two WWI soldiers, In Memoriam is a luminous, heart-breaking meditation on the tragedies of war and the precious sanctuary that can be found in deep human connection.


The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon

"A staggering work of beauty and brutality." - Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize winning author of Shuggie Bain

Taking the reader from Sarajevo to Shanghai and Jerusalem, Hemon's expansive, deeply felt and stunningly crafted novel explores love, loyalty and sacrifice in the First World War.


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"Absolutely awesome. One of the best books I've ever read." - Judy Finnigan

Set against the brutal backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War, Adichie’s soaring epic entwines three deftly drawn characters in a web of faded colonialism, racial antagonism and vexed romance.  


The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

"A mesmerizing, devastating, searing and utterly authentic and deeply human novel. Cannot recommend highly enough!" - Lynn Novick, co-producer of The Vietnam War documentary

An unsparing and lyrical coming-of-age novel set in 1970s Vietnam, The Mountains Sing blends a powerful family story and the horrors of the war together into a haunting tale of identity, love and loss.


At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

"An extraordinary novel, full of sadness, rage and beauty" - Sarah Waters

The disturbing tale of two Senegalese friends and soldiers in the Great War and the urge to madness and revenge that subsumes one when the other is killed, Diop’s astonishing novel is both a tribute to friendship and a passionate condemnation of armed conflict.


The Facemaker: One Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I by Lindsey Fitzharris

"Scholarly yet deeply moving... this a fascinating book about a remarkable man, and of how teamwork is such an important part of good surgery. Despite the grim subject matter, it is a deeply moving and uplifting story" - Henry Marsh, New Statesman

Shedding light on the ambitious work of the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies with the First World War soldiers who sustained facial injuries in battle, The Facemaker tells the story of how imagination and medical innovation helped to restore faces – and identities – wrecked by war.


A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East's Long War by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

"Ghaith Abdul-Ahad is also a writer of exquisite prose, whose thoughtful, moving and often disturbing work elevates war reportage and the memoir of conflict and loss to levels rarely seenA Stranger in Your Own City is that rarity: a genuine melancholy masterpiece." - William Dalrymple, author of Return Of a King.

Exploring the various conflicts of pre- and post-invasion Iraq, the award-winning journalist places the civilians caught in them at the heart of his narrative, painting a deeply informed and illuminating picture of his country.


The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry by Matthew George Walter

Reflecting the voices of poets, soldiers, the families they left behind and their comrades who would never return, The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry has been arranged thematically, moving through the war's different stages from conscription through to its aftermath, to offer the reader a variety of perspectives on the same common experiences.

George Walter's introduction discusses the role and scope of First World War poetry anthologies, and how the canon has changed over the years.


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