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A Broken World: Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A lieutenant writes of digging through bodies that have the consistency of Camembert cheese; a mother sends flower seeds to her son at the Front, hoping that one day someone may see them grow; a nurse tends a man back to health knowing he will be court-martialled and shot as soon as he is fit.

In this extraordinarily powerful and diverse selection of diaries, letters and me
...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published July 3rd 2014 by Hutchinson (first published July 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Saturday's Child
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This anthology has some poignant letters, diary entries and written accounts from both soldiers and civilians who were affected by the events of World War 1. As Sebastian Faulks writes in the introduction, “a century later it is still hard to appreciate the scale of what happened or to make sense of it”.
Susan Liston
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
a collection of letters with a few essays from famous writers. Most of them very sad in some way, of course, don't know why I torture myself with this sort of thing, which I can only read in small doses. But it's nicely put together.
Lisa
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Broken World: Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War is a collection of writings edited by Sebastian Faulks and Hope Wolf that focus on personal experiences of those who lived through – and endured – World War I.

The first thing to praise is the great wealth of material and differing viewpoints that Faulks and Wolf provide. A Broken World sources personal accounts from soldiers, pacifists, the women who were "left behind" and the refugees, and these from all sides of the war. The autho
...more
Chris Stanley
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ngk
I’m struggling to review this book!
It’s an awesome collection, emotional, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. BUT The sort of book you can only read a bit at a time.
Ever since school I’ve been fascinated by the initial “oh what a lovely war” mind-set followed by the slowly building contrast of despair. I’ve read a few collections of poetry set in ww1, but never so many letters from such a wide range of people.

The collection is well thought out and satisfying to read. Students studying bo
...more
Zoe Radley
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been meaning to read this book since it came out and yes I was not let down. I feel that this book should be on the list for schools to get for history as it depicts WWI through the eyes and minds and thoughts of the PEOPLE who lived,endured,survived and perished in that Great War this is how history should be told in schools not the dry dusty and countless data and military tactics that's outdated and this is what should be taught that people living people endured and suffered throughout ...more
Barbara
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
To read the thoughts, reflections and memories of those who have lived through suffering and horrors that I cannot begin to comprehend, is confronting and deeply moving. This diverse selection of writings gives voice to representatives from every part of British society- those who were part of the armed forces, those they left behind, nurses, relief workers, prisoners of war, pacifists- as well as from other countries affected by the Great War. They speak for all those who are/were unable to fin ...more
Melissa Kane
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was given this book, which was released to mark the centenary of the First World War. It's a mixture of letters, poems, postcards, occasional photos, diary entries and memories, and it's a really mixed bag. Some of the pieces are fascinating, others heart-breaking or sickening, some merely baffling and I wondered why such scant fragments had been included. All in all, if you've never read anything about the Great War you will come away more informed, but if you are already reasonably well info ...more
Michael Coney
Poignant

Straying from his usual fiction, Sebastian Faulks has worked with Hope Wolf to produce an anthology that beautifully portrays the different aspects of the Great War from a variety of those involved.
So different from most books about t
thealchemyofpages
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning and emotional read !.
Steve Maxwell
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very sober, touching and moving look at some of the reminiscent times of World War I.
Andy Plonka
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: src
I found the afterward the most enlightening of the whole book, although there are many short letters which said a lot in a few words to convey thescope of World War I.
Joan Austen
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A collection of of personal WW1 diaries and letters, this book is an an unforgettable read for history lovers. Lest We Forget.
Yara (The Narratologist)
Thanks to the centenary I have caught the WWI bug and I have started working my way through Great War literature. After Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, I figured it was time for a non-fiction account and decided on this collection of letters and diaries (edited by Sebastian Faulks and Hope Wolf). The selection is varied, including not just British documents but also German, Russian, and Indian voices, plenty of women (much appreciated!), and mostly "ordinary people" with the occasional famil ...more
Marilyn
I'm in awe. Most of the entries in this book are by writers. (T.E. Lawrence, Vera Brittain, W. E. B. Dubois). A few are from people unused to ink and pen. A few related their memories to the BBC. Most were English. A few German. One Canadian and two Americans so far. Three from Arab countries and from India so far. Soldiers. Quakers. Some Socialists. One deserter. Several nurses and others in the medical/surgical area. All had "borne the battle", since the conscientious objectors (whether in pri ...more
Les
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
A miscellany of experiences from the First World War. Some of them, despite the subject matter, are quite elegantly written and I loved Virginia Woolf's description of a visit to wartime Scarborough and the way the war directly visited a tight community. But the most moving writings or words for me are always those of the ordinary men who served in the trenches, and there are plenty of those too. This book is good for the number of perspectives it brings on the war, including some I had not expe ...more
LOL_BOOKS
THIS SHIFT IS MAKING ME REMEMBER THE MEMER WHO POSTED SOME LETTERS HOME FROM A DUDE AT THE FRONT WHO HAD A TRENCH BROMANCE WITH HIS FRAND. THEY WERE RLY SAD AND SWEET.

THERE WAS ONE WHERE THE AUTHOR'S BROTHER HAD JUST BEEN KILLED AND HE WENT TO THE FRAND AND THE FRAND HELD HIM WHILE HE CRIED, AND ANOTHER WHERE THE FRAND WENT ON LEAVE AND VISITED THE AUTHOR'S FAMILY IN ENGLAND AND CAME BACK WITH A KISS FROM THE AUTHOR'S GIRLFRAND, WHICH HE GAVE HIM IN THE DARK. THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO I REMEMBER.
Richard
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A well curated collection of writing on WWI. A mixture of letters written at the time by those involved or those observing. As recollections put to paper many years later by participants and non-participants. Broken up by themes rather than chronologically and allowing the voices of all sides of the conflict to be heard, this is a worthwhile read on many levels.
Garry Marlton
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptional in my view. You do not get just stories of life in the trench. The love of couples in an era where men found it difficult to express there feelings. People who objected to the war and the cruelty they suffered. For me what made this book is people's stories from other country's to truley show a broken world. I will read this again.
Claire Rosette
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow I'm really enjoying reading this collection of war letters, I can't put it down. One letter was actually based where I live, which adds to the fascination. Looking forward to the rest with great anticipation.
Rhi
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Review coming soon at bentspines.wordpress.com
Karen Cole
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
review to follow
Craig
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My only criticism is that it wasn't long enough.
Louise
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the sources I had already read. Didn't need to have the Brittain and Graves selection. Found the organization distracting.
Jaffareadstoo
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed dipping into and out of this book which is a poignant look at lives changed forever by war and its effects.
Carole Koch
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Feb 10, 2019
Dees
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Aug 17, 2016
Amanda
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Jun 29, 2018
Sandra Evans
rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2014
Angela
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Nov 29, 2017
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Nov 14, 2018
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Sebastian Faulks was born in 1953, and grew up in Newbury, the son of a judge and a repertory actress. He attended Wellington College and studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, although he didn’t enjoy attending either institution. Cambridge in the 70s was still quite male-dominated, and he says that you had to cycle about 5 miles to meet a girl. He was the first literary editor of “The Independe ...more

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