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The Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration #1-3)

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,264 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A trilogy of novels set during World War I which mingle real and fictional characters. The Ghost Road won the 1995 Booker Prize.
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Viking Books
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
279th out of 4,995 books — 19,293 voters
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueA Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayThe Regeneration Trilogy by Pat BarkerBirds Without Wings by Louis de BernièresA Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
WWI - The Great War (Historical Fiction)
3rd out of 201 books — 149 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,611)
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The novelists who wrote immediately after the war (or even during it) – Barbusse, Remarque, Manning, even Hemingway – were concerned mostly with getting down the facts: recording the realities of modern warfare before they allowed themselves to forget, before the details became incredible. Writers of subsequent generations cannot write what they know, and they need to do something else – bring some higher assessment of how people, and society, reacted to this cataclysm overall.

Doing this badly,
A powerful reading experience, this is a book that one will be thinking about for a very long time. The writing is superb, the use of small, lovely details (sunlight reflecting on eyeglasses, rose petals, bubbles on the legs of a man resting in a fishpond, things seen only by starlight' etc., there are many more examples) against the backdrop of the vulgarity that was WWI, serve to make the book all the more moving. A sentence as simple as this is astounding within the context of the overall wor ...more
This trilogy is a fascinating approach to WW I, using a handful of historical figures and one or two fictional characters to get into the psychology of the young Englishman who fought in the trenches of France. Book 1, Regeneration, is the story of Siegfried Sassoon's time at Craiglockhart Castle, Scotland, where he was being treated for "shell shock" (in Sassoon's case it was speaking out publicly against the war that made him unfit for service) by preeminent psychologist Dr. Jonathan Rivers. H ...more
Ruth Zaryski Jackson
Absolutely brilliant must-read especially for anyone interested in World War One and shell shock. An unsentimental, raw and intimate trilogy featuring historically accurate figures such as war poets, Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and anthropologist/doctor W.H.R.Rivers. Read it!
Hard hitting, thought provoking and moving, this is an excellent trilogy set during the First World War. It deals largely with the psychological effects/trauma that the war had on the men who fought as well as various social issues of the time. These are books that do not shy away from the life-changing impact that the war had on the people involved and they make for some very emotive reading. The amount of research that Pat Barker has done into the subject is astonishing and the whole thing pro ...more
Kaye McSpadden
I just finished the first book of the trilogy, entitled "Regeneration." I have mixed feelings about it. The story focuses on the treatment of World War I soldiers who have experienced psychiatric breakdowns and disorders as a result of the horrors of war. There is also an underlying discussion of the morality and ethics of war itself.

On the one hand, I enjoyed learning a little bit about the emerging views of post-combat psychiatric trauma, and I appreciated the fact that several of the charact
It's hard to imagine a more beautiful, more sublime or complex series of books than these by Pat Barker. I said in a recent conversation that they don't even feel as if they were written by a particular person, but that they just appeared, fully formed, to show us all that we need to know about how humans attempt to deal with tragedy; to live with the unlivable. War and its aftermath come to occupy the same place and time in these three books, inextricably linked in a society that does not yet u ...more
The first novel in this trilogy presents us with victims of "shell shock" and other "war neuroses" being treated Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh during WWI. Barker bases some of her characters on historical figures such as poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen and the man who led their treatment. Some of the details are brutal, but the writing is excellent, the characters Barker creates compelling. The inclusion of female munitions workers adds a perspective not usually found in either hi ...more
“Regeneration” is the first in a trilogy of historical fiction novels set around World War 1 that involves real personalities along with a few fictional characters sprinkled in to complete the story. This review covers the first book, and it is a different kind of war novel than I’ve ever read before because it didn’t focus much at all on major battles or the ebb and flow of the war. Instead, it focused on the psychological impact of the war and treatment of officers and soldiers exposed to brut ...more
I'm not sure I'm quite the person to properly say this a I'm really not well-acquainted with WWI but I'd say that unlike some media I could mention it felt authentic to the era. Of course the war is horrific and it doesn't shy away from from that yet without removing the horror of what happened it managed to get over the ambiguity of how those involved felt about it because it's known that some of the historical figures in the book did chose to go back.
Strangely as the books went on it went fro
The forthcoming anniversary of the Great War should provide some motivation for readers to revisit, or discover this trilogy from the nineties. Acclaimed at the time (topped off by a Booker Prize for the last in the series The Ghost Road) it has been on my 'to read' list for many years. The story centres around an institution for mentally ill soldiers near Edinburgh, and psychologist W H Rivers. A particular focus is his relationship with patient Siegfried Sassoon and the moral confl
I was disappointed with this book. Despite being really interested in both World Wars, especially the impact on soldiers and civilians, I could only crawl through the first book of the trilogy "Regeneration." It took me forever to read it, seeing it more as a chore than a leisure read. Whilst it does deal with shell shock I don't think it gave that much information and I couldn't get excited by any of the characters, even though my two favourite war poets made an appearance (Sassoon & Owen). ...more
Bill Tyne
In giving this volume a three star rating I am judging the trilogy as a whole. The first book in the series is by far and away the best. All the characters are beautifully drawn and believable. The situations feel authentic and you get a real sense of gaining some understanding of how the First World War impacted on the lives of everyone. Sadly in the later volumes the fictitious character of Billy Prior becomes less and less believable as Barker uses him to explore the prejudices and ills of so ...more
My introduction to Pat Barker and the Regeneration trilogy was actually via a 2012 Economist book review of Toby's Room (sequel to Life Class ): I remember thinking the book sounded fascinating, and putting it on my mental to-read list after reading the Regeneration trilogy and Life Class.

I still haven't gotten round to Life Class yet, but I was in an airport bookshop recently and saw the paperback edition of the Regeneration trilogy. I was slightly confused as to why the bookshop had chosen
Yumiko Hansen
-- Just finished "The Re generation Trilogy" -- what a fascinating book it was!!!! Although I was rather disappointed after reading "Regeneration" which is the first book in a trilogy: It would have been more enjoyable if the book was more focused on the characters's 'background'.

I , however, started to enjoy Barker's writing style from the second part onward: very descriptive and powerful. The use of small, lovely details against the backdrop of the vulgarity that was WW1, serves to make the b
Mikael Kuoppala
The best analysis of war I have ever read. It focuses on the psychological and sosiological damages of war and truly illustrates the pointlessness of it all.

“Regenaration” is a masterful beginning for a strong trilogy of books that study WWI from a psychososiological perspective, featuring both real historical characters and truly interesting fictional ones.

I’m not that hot on historical and especially war novels, but Barker has created a deeply meaningful, beautiful and extremely powerful maste
The Regeneration Triology is a mix of fact and fiction set in England during WWI. The first book, Regeneration (a Booker Prize nominee) is about the psychologist W.H.R. Rivers who treated the poet Siegfried Sassoon for shell shock. Sassoon's friend Robert Graves (I, Claudius)and the poet Wilfred Owen are in the story as well.

The second book, The Eye in the Door, is about the very active campaigns that were waged in England against conscientious objectors and homosexuals with the central, fictio
If I could have put the rest of my life on hold, I would have read these historical novels about World War I straight through, nonstop. The trilogy includes Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road and the writing is clear and beautiful. The first book was made into a film (Behind the Lines) and the other two books won awards. The main characters (a few of whom are actual figures: war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, neurologist/psychiatrist Dr. William Rivers) are soldiers ...more
Kirsty Stanley
Apr 08, 2011 Kirsty Stanley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kirsty by: Open University AZX300
As part of my Twentieth Century Literature (AZX300) course with the Open Univeristy I read The Ghost Road by Pat Barker. This was actually the last in the series and after I read it I just had to buy and read the first two, Regeneration and The Eye in the Door (though it does stand up on its own).
The books mix fictional and real characters (notably Dr.William Rivers and the war poets Siegfried Sasson and Wilfred Owen). Much of it is set at Craiglockhart psychiatric hospital in World World War w
Rachael Eyre
I'll keep this brief, because I could happily recount its virtues all day, but I loved it. With its motley cast of characters- my absolute favourite being the anthropologist turned psychiatrist Dr Rivers- and its refusal to shy away from gay themes, it was fantastic.

That's not to say it's without flaws. Billy Prior, ostensibly the main character (and one of the few completely fictional figures to appear) is incredibly unsympathetic and given to jaw dropping behaviour- while he's tentatively diag
I read this trilogy after finishing "To End All Wars" by Adam Hochschild, which looks at WWI history from the vantage point of England. Since I seem to be on a roll with WWI, I decided to listen to Pat Barker's books that deal with the same period. The novels take place mostly in England, and the two main characters are the psychiatrist Rivers (a real person) and one of his patients, Billy Pryor (fictitious). By weaving the action around this pair, Barker is able to explore the terrible waste of ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Falkor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical fiction, military/war related fiction, or who are interested in WWI
This haunting, elegiac trilogy of novels about World War I focuses not on adventure and heroism but on the deep scars that the trauma of war leaves on the psyches of soldiers.

The first book, Regeneration, is about the efforts of Dr. William H.R. Rivers, a real life pioneering psychiatrist, to help officers hospitalized for "shell shock." His patients include a man who has been unable to eat since a decaying corpse exploded in his face, getting into his mouth; a man who cannot speak and cannot r
Frangipani Marigold
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Culloty
A person might think that yet another book about World War One could hardly grab the reader's attention, but The Regeneration Trilogy manages to be compulsive reading. In the self-titled opener, we're introduced to the famous poets Wilfrid Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, as they both go for recuperative therapy, and not only do we get an engaging picture of flesh-and-blood characters, but the horrors of war are graphically portrayed more tellingly than any history book could attempt. The second book ...more
you look back upon the history of protest and it seems to really come to the fore with Vietnam. I began to read the astounding poet Robinson Jeffers after hearing of him in Czeslaw Milosz's poetry. Jeffers wrote long, black protest poems about ww1, especially The Double Axe. They are incredible works of literature and incredible works of protest. I found a similar vein in Barker's trilogy, especially the first novel, where you are really made aware of the futility of war, that it is an engine co ...more
Het is me gelukt de trilogie uit te lezen, maar ik vond het maar matig boeiend. Hoofdpersonen zijn niet bijster interessant en de schrijfstijl is nogal afstandelijk, beetje intellectualistisch. Opnieuw een voorbeeld waarbij een grote boekenprijs geen aanbeveling vormt, want waarom dit de fameuze Booker Prize moest krijgen ontgaat me volledig.
This is hands-down my favorite book of the 2014 reading year. It largely focuses on Dr. Rivers a real psychiatrist who worked with shell shocked soldiers during the first world war and Billy Powers a fictional soldier. Other characters include the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. I found the book eye-opening as I didn't know much about World War I. Barker must have done an enormous amount of research for this book, which she skillfully integrates into this heart-wrenching, but never sen ...more
I found the first part of this the most engaging. I couldn't really give the series 5 stars because I felt it just spent too much time on...yep, sex. I became pretty weary of the bisexual meanderings of one of the main characters, Billy Prior, who becomes more a focal point of the trilogy as it progresses. Barker, like a lot of female authors, seems to be fascinated by or obsessed with male homosexuality. You don't have to be an intolerant bigot to become annoyed by a constant return to the them ...more
I really, really liked these books. The author is a British woman - the first book is about a mental health "institution" set up on an estate in England, to treat World War I soldiers (the War is still going on as the book progresses). The 2nd and 3rd books follow one of the psychiatrists and one of the soldiers a little more in depth. Wonderful writing. Heavy subject matter. Engrossing, though hard to read at times. I learned of this author and these books from a review in "The New Yorker". One ...more
Maria Caggiano
This historical fiction trilogy about WWI is rich and engrossing. Readers should be cautioned, it is upsetting, as war always is. It does not romanticise that which should never, ever be romanticised. The story is organized around several "shell shocked" British soldiers during WWI and the effect treating these individual has on their psychiatrists. Having read it as an undergraduate student at Wake Forest University in 1998, I had no idea how eerily accurate it would be for a now-military psych ...more
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Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics.

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration ; The Eye in the Door , winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road , winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. Pat Barker is married and lives in
More about Pat Barker...

Other Books in the Series

Regeneration (3 books)
  • Regeneration (Regeneration, #1)
  • The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2)
  • The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3)
Regeneration (Regeneration, #1) The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3) The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2) Toby's Room Life Class

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