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We That Were Young
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We That Were Young

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  20 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This fierce anti-war novel by Irene Rathbone (1892-1980) is told from the perspective of a cultured former suffragist and several of her friends- young women who work at rest camps just behind the lines in France and as nurses of the severely wounded in hospitals in London. When Joan loses both her brother and lover to the war, in anger at the enemy she volunteers for work ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1932)
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Excellent novel of women-war workers in WW1 based very much on the author's experience. Honest and unsentimental.

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I'm marking as memoir, even though it's fiction, because it feels like it has more truth than most books under that label. (Does that make sense?)

I didn't always keep all of the characters straight--is it Betty or Babs who's attached to that soldier? After I finished the book, the critique I read made me believe the book's power is in the individual experiences melding into a portrayal of the masses.

Spoiler(ish). It's WWI. If he's a guy, he dies. Probably.
Apr 05, 2014 Homerun2 marked it as dnf
Shelves: great-war
I thought this sounded interesting, but you have to be in exactly the right frame of mind to read a book like this, written about events of 100 years ago. It is no judgment on the book's merits to say the timing wasn't right for me to plunge in. It could very well be that I will pick it up sometime in the future...
Gabriele Wills
Using her own experiences and those of her friends, Rathbone evokes the era of the Great War through the eyes of women who are as determined to do their bit as their brothers and sweethearts. Rich with details about the tasks these women undertook, from nursing to munitions work, the novel reads like a fascinating biography.
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