Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Letters from a Lost Generation: First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends” as Want to Read:
Letters from a Lost Generation: First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Letters from a Lost Generation: First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
This poignant work collects correspondence written from 1913 to 1918 between Vera Brittain and four young men -- her fiance Roland Leighton, her younger brother Edward and their two close friends, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow -- who were all killed in action during World War I.
The correspondence presents a remarkable and profoundly moving portrait of five ideali
...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 29th 1998 by Northeastern University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Letters from a Lost Generation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Letters from a Lost Generation

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
NancyHelen
Jun 06, 2008 NancyHelen rated it it was amazing
This book is made all the more heartbreaking because it is real. It isn't a fictionalised account of the horrors or World War I - it is a snapshot of the lives and feelings of Vera Brittain and four young men - her brother Edward, her fiance Roland and two other friends, Geoffrey and Victor - through correspondence which passed between them throughout the war.

It demonstrates the waste of young life which characterised the Great War, and in fact all wars. This book remained with me when I closed
...more
Suz
Letters from a Lost Generation, is a collection edited by Mark Bostridge and published in 2008, of the letters between Vera Brittain, her brother Edward, and their friends Roland Leighton, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow. Both Edward and Roland sent their letters back to Vera for safe-keeping, so the collection of letters between those three is almost complete (barring some letters between Vera and Edward in the last year of Edward’s life). Many of Vera’s letters to Victor and Geoffrey we ...more
Caroline
Aug 12, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing
What a poignant and unbearably sad book at times.These are the letters during the First World War between Vera Brittain and her Brother, Fiance and Two friends.All of the men died and all of their hopes and dreams and Veras with them.
The horrors of the trenches and the war are spoken about in a matter of fact way and is very moving.All of the men thought they would die but still had thoughts on what they wished to do after the war,which tragically did not happen.
I have been meaning to read this
...more
Claude
Jan 20, 2015 Claude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1, a
Usually, I'm not much of an audiobook reader (listener?), as my mind wanders and I have trouble focusing on what I'm hearing for a long time. Neither am I an epistolary novel reader, for about the same reasons... I get characters mixed up and get bored quite easily. But I tackled this audiobook because of my interest in WWI and, I must say, because my eyesight is getting worse and worse and I might just have to get used to listening to books or not read at all.
Anyway, it was a great way to star
...more
Vanessa Meachen
May 15, 2014 Vanessa Meachen rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk-history, biography, ww1
A really interesting read for anyone who's read 'Testament of Youth' and wants to learn more about the conjunctions of these five young people flung into a world that nothing could prepare them for. The contrast in the letters and what it reveals about their characters is fascinating, from the very exploratory, didactic, only occasionally playful nature of Vera's own letters, which are very like her brother Edward's and also her fiance's, to Victor's which are very considerate and thoughtful if ...more
BeaCice
Jun 28, 2015 BeaCice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BeaCice by: My uncle
The contents of the letters written by Vera, Roland, Edward, Victor and Geoffrey will make you smile and cry; you will feel pain for their losses, fear for their lives and pray with Vera that her boys will make it through the War; you will feel angry and powerless while reading the description of young men killed or died of wounds, and you will think of the anguish that thousands of families felt when a telegram would destroy their hope: "Regret to inform..." but also their relief when a postcar ...more
Marguerite Kaye
Jan 28, 2013 Marguerite Kaye rated it it was amazing
Don't read this without a box of hankies at hand. Obviously time has dated the letters, which can seem rather patronising occasionally, but if you can get past that, this gives you a moving and very personal insight into what it was like (if anyone can imagine anything like the Great War without experiencing it) to be separated by war, to endure war, and what coping mechanisms you used to survive. You can't read it in one go, it's a book to be dipped in and out of, but it's a truly amazing and i ...more
Susan Liston
Oct 25, 2014 Susan Liston rated it it was amazing
Incredible to realize that these letters were written by teenagers. Try and picture American teenagers of today doing the same. Hahahahahahahahaha

The whole story of Vera and her lost boys is just so heartbreaking, and all the worse because you know it was repeated literally millions of times over, in one of the most stupid and unnecessary of wars.
Noha
Jan 07, 2016 Noha rated it it was amazing
Again like its twin book testament of youth..beautiful and heartbreaking. I recommend reading testament of youth first then this one for a full understanding of the letters and the circumstances in which they were written.
Sarah
Jan 18, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very moving and tragic epistolary audiobook containing a collection of letters exchanged between four young people during World War I. The narrative was very well done, and I enjoyed the old songs of the period.
Pamela
Sep 08, 2012 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Read all her biography books on WW1 this was very good added more to the story especially her own tragic love story
Lois
Mar 19, 2009 Lois rated it it was amazing
On of the most moving books I have ever read. Real letters and real stories written between four individuals. Changed my impression of this era of history.
Senna Black
Letters from a Lost Generation, is a collection edited by Mark Bostridge and published in 2008, of the letters between Vera Brittain, her brother Edward, and their friends Roland Leighton, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow. Both Edward and Roland sent their letters back to Vera for safe-keeping, so the collection of letters between those three is almost complete (barring some letters between Vera and Edward in the last year of Edward’s life). Many of Vera’s letters to Victor and Geoffrey we ...more
Bmw800
Feb 23, 2017 Bmw800 rated it really liked it
(Sob) This was surreal, too real, romantic, and brutal. A good reminder of what war really is.
Malia Ebel
Jul 14, 2015 Malia Ebel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a compilation of the letters between Vera Brittain and Roland Leighton (her fiance), Edward Brittain (her brother), and two friends, Victor and Geoffrey. But the overwhelming bulk of the letters are with Roland and Edward.

Roland and Edward both sent her letters to them back to her for safe-keeping, so the book has both sides of the conversation, which is terrific. And the correspondence is a nice addition to Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain's WWI memoir, which used snippets of many of t
...more
Liewen
Ce recueil de lettres complète parfaitement Testament of Youth, de Vera Brittain. Il s'agit d'un témoignage brut, bouleversant, incroyablement puissant.
C'est un précieux témoignage de la guerre au quotidien, que ce soit du point de vue de Vera, d'abord étudiante à Oxford puis volontaire dans les VAD et merveilleuse épistolière, ou de celui de ces quatre jeunes hommes, à la fois très caractéristiques de la société edwardienne (notamment dans les distinctions entre classes sociales) et bouillonnan
...more
Linda
Mar 30, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really miss writing and receiving letters. We used to share so much. I can remember exchanging intense letters with my fiance and being a little awkward when we were face-to-face because we had shared so much and it was difficult to discuss the same things in person. I also shared so much with my friends and discovered things about myself I couldn't have any other way.

So this book is precious to me for that reason. I doubt future biographers or historians will find the same wealth of material
...more
Jeremy
Jan 22, 2016 Jeremy rated it liked it
This is a fascinating book and, because the letters in it are edited and abridged, it can be read in small chunks or large sections which makes it very accessible.

And then he died. But that is not a spoiler as the book chronicles the letters between Vera Brittain, her brother and their 3 friends through the first world war. Where other books make an effort to try to describe the horrors of trench war and the dreadful conditions the soldiers had to endure this book looks at the 1st war through th
...more
Elena
There are certain books you like, certain books you love, certain books you escape to, and then, every blue moon there is a book that is so monumental a read it creates a bend in the road. Your life is then marked as before or after that read. In no particular order, mine are Northanger Abbey, The Silver Chair, Catching Fire, The Seven Year Old Wonder Book, and now Letters From a Lost Generation.

I was drawn to this book, I confess, after seeing the movie adaptation of Testament of Youth. Reading
...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 09, 2016 Roman Clodia rated it it was amazing
If you've read Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain's classic war memoir/autobiography you will already know the story, but hearing the actual voices of her and the young men raise this book to another level. In their late teens when the first world war breaks out, we see their innocent nineteenth century ideals of the glory and honour of war shattered by the reality they face and the death of everyone they know.

A poignant, shattering, heartbreaking reminder of the death of innocence and the true b
...more
Bernadette
Jan 01, 2010 Bernadette rated it really liked it
WHat a read! I learnt so much about WW1 both from the point of view of the men who fought and those left behind. I couldn't get over how much the men wanted to be posted to the Front. The letters give a fantastic insight into the daily rountine of war, the billeting and catering as well as the fighting.
I didn't like Vera's brother, finance or friends though! They were very stuck up and wrote about what a great loss to the country the death of men of their kind were compared to the insignificance
...more
Michelle Athy
Dec 17, 2015 Michelle Athy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
This book gave me a terrible feeling in the belly in some places, because these letters, albeit edited, are the real words and thoughts of four young men who died so terribly young in World War One. Their letters range from whimsical to describing the boredom of trench warfare and their very young ideas on fighting for glory--and poetry, particularly from Roland Leighton, whose "Villanelle" is incredibly powerful. Of course, without Vera Brittain, these letters and these men would simply be four ...more
Kristen
Aug 18, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it
This was a hard collection to get started with, but pretty soon I was hooked on the narrative of Vera and her friends. Of course I knew what would happen from the beginning -- this is history, after all -- but reading about how each soldier faced his death in his own words and how Vera handled the news was fascinating as well as heartbreaking. Perhaps it's our natural human curiosity about death, but I kept imagining what I would do in her shoes, and part of me still can't fathom the personal co ...more
Darck
Jul 07, 2012 Darck rated it it was amazing
What a series of moving letters.....I borrowed this from the university library today, little expecting this lovely gem! I have only made it barely a fourth through the series of letters but I must say they are absoloutely enthralling! I almost feel as if I knew the writers. So much raw emotion and the fact that these letters are personal makes it even more close to your heart.
Will do a full review once I'm done.
Pauline Evans
Dec 20, 2012 Pauline Evans rated it it was amazing
I love books compiled through letters.I am a journal keeper myself with many entries, copies of letters I have sent. This coupled with my interest in the Great War attracted me to this book. Its very well written, is poignant but has humourous moments. The interaction between Vera and her four friends is wonderful. True friendship is evident. Its sad how the world has forgotten to write a good letter that captures that very moment. Texting just doesn't do it . . .and I don't!!
Amy
Nov 03, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
This covers a lot of the same ground as Testament of Youth but it is so devastating.
Karen
Apr 03, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Was awfully sad reading this. I read this after reading 'A Testament of Youth' and it made it all the more poignant as I knew the story behind them
Emylie
Mar 13, 2016 Emylie added it
Shelves: favorites, war, 2016-read
heartbreaking
Michellestevens234
Aug 27, 2010 Michellestevens234 rated it it was amazing
read this some years ago but its a great book and apparently its now on TV
Dan Clarke
Feb 05, 2015 Dan Clarke rated it it was amazing
A very informative and moving collection of correspondence between Vera Brittain, Edward Brittain, Roland Leighton, Geoffrey Thurlow and Victor Richardson.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Chronicle of Youth: The War Diary, 1913-1917
  • The Forbidden Zone: A Nurse's Impressions of the First World War
  • Undertones of War
  • The Roses of No Man's Land
  • Forgotten Voices of the Great War
  • Bells of Nagasaki
  • Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918
  • The Backwash of War: The Human Wreckage of the Battlefield as Witnessed by an American Hospital Nurse
  • The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural
  • Not So Quiet...
  • Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb
  • The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume Two, 1912-1922
  • Smoke and Mirrors : An Experience of China
  • Hapa Girl: A Memoir
  • Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl
  • Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography
  • The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War
  • Somme Mud

Share This Book