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Vera Brittain (1893-1970) is best known as the author of Testament of Youth, the eloquent memoir of her World War I experiences that gave voice to a generation forever shattered and haunted by the Great War. Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge provide a full and candid account of Brittain's life that alters in important respects the self-portrait she presented in Testament of ...more
Paperback, 581 pages
Published May 30th 2002 by Northeastern University Press
(first published 1995)
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I selected this book because Ms. Brittain is quoted in histories of WWI and she intrigued me. She was a writer, pacifist, feminist, wife, mother and friend who lived through two world wars and was a British leader in the movements for women's sufferage and peace. It was fascinating to live through those times through her eyes and through her family and friends. The book is maybe too detailed for me (523 pages) but fascinating and well-written.
Vera Brittain has been my hero for many years (decades...), and I have had this bio on my shelves for longer than I care to admit. I made it a mission to read it this summer, and I loved it. It's fascinating and gave me a greater understanding of Brittain's entire life. I think she would have been difficult to live with, but I still admire her greatly. She's still my main role model.
Talk about adding depth to a story. As much as I enjoyed Testament of Youth, this book adds a third dimension, to present an almost holographic view of Vera's life.
We learn the back story on her marriage, her relationship with Winifred Holtby. Also, we learn about the unrequited crush that haunts her for nearly 20 years, and the info about her brother's death that would have been earth-shaking, in her time, if she'd been able to fully accept it.
Beyond the above, this is a story of a woman who ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it · review of another edition
This is a solid and thoughtful biography. Brittain is a tough subject, because while she was admirable in many ways, she was also clearly a difficult woman to deal with personally. Berry and Bostridge rise to the challenge and present a balanced picture, sympathetic to her tragedies and hardships, yet honest about her often fraught relationships with others.