Vasha7's Reviews > Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
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May 28, 2011

it was amazing
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Read in June, 2009

A memoir of World War I. Vera Brittain does a superb job of reconstructing her experiences from the perspective of a decade and a half later, hindsight being aided by rereading her diaries and letters. Mostly, it is focused on her thoughts and feelings, on a personal level. During the time when her fiancé filled all her thoughts, that is reflected in the book. Nonetheless, an impression of other people's situation comes through. Brittain also makes a number of scathing social observations. For instance, as a nurse, (as notably described during the period of her arrival in London for one), she encountered stunning incompetence and indifference and downright perverse hindrances to her attempts to serve and help. She believes this was quite typical of all levels of society, government, and the army. This greatly increased the human cost of the war.

The first two parts of the book describe the effect the war had on her; she reached Armistice Day in a state of utter devastation. The third part describes how she recovered and put herself back together; it's a real testament to her writing skill that I found this part as interesting as the other two.
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