Shaun Bongo
Shaun Bongo asked:

I had absolutely no empathy for the drippy privileged people in this dreadful book . Why is rated so high.?

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Connie You missed the whole point of the book.
Laura Daly Because the same drippy privileged people fought and died in a horrible war so you could make comments like this.
Fiona She wasn't privileged, her family were self-made, and she supported herself from the moment she left her education. She wasn't drippy, she lost so many loved ones and yet she continued to work, she battled depression, she made tough decisions and stuck by her principles. She was intelligent, she was a poet, she was a nurse, a politician and a feminist. I agree with Connie.
Jeslyn I don't know what surprises me more: that you thought you were reading about privileged people in this book, or that the responses thought they were. The Brittains were not the "privileged class", nor were Leighton's family - in fact, at one point Roland notes that his schooling was paid for by the money both parents earned. Both families worked for the money they had, and that is certainly not the definition of privileged people pre-WWI. Additionally, Vera was not a nurse, but a VAD - as different as professional Army from new recruits. These young women were treated pretty harshly by many of the professional nurses, particularly when the patients didn't distinguish between the two classes of "nurse". Lastly, it's ok that you had no empathy for these people - you could only have empathy if you'd felt something of their suffering, and fortunately it's extremely unlikely that you or any of us ever will.
Eloise Nora Seriously? What a shameful and ignorant comment. Clearly, an obsession with identity politics has robbed you of the ability to connect to a common humanity. This is just one perspective of the war and it is no more or less valid. These were the circumstances she was born into and these were her experiences. An entire generation destroyed by pointless war, and she shared in its devastation and sorrow as one of those left behind. Should we consider her pain any less real for her social class? The loss of her future husband, only brother, and friends. Pathetic.
M.A. Lossl I kind of know what you mean, but this is a true story and describes a class of British people who ruled during the years of the war. I myself find Vera to be almost patronizing...but we are judging her and them with present day sensitivities. I read the book as I am researching the WW1 era: my family came from the working class East End of London so were living the antithesis of this woman's life. But all credit to her, she was one of the first women to obtained a degree; she worked a lowly nurse when she could have coddled herself in privilege. I did feel empathy in her bereavement, a friend lost in the conflict. This conflict that for all its horror, cracked open the British class system and led to a more egalitarian society in the UK.
Chris Cantor Offspring do not get to choose their parents and condemning people because of their class is well... Furthermore, Brittain and her friends rejected their parents materialist values. Brittain herself pursued some of the most horrific nursing roles in the war and post-war committed herself to campaigning to prevent future wars. Drippy?
Becky because it casts light onto a lost generation of people fro all classes, who died horrible deaths in one of the world's first mechanised wars. You missed the point 100%.
Steve Crocker ignorance of topic, lack of social skills and a mean-ness of spirit. Suffering is suffering - no-one deserves to be cast off as unworthy of empathy by virtue of a social standing in which they happen to find themselves
Sara What the frick?
Xiao There's more that unites us than divides us if we want to look for it, in spite of our differences.
ROBERT STAFFORD Good question! I read this about 15 years ago. While I have a poor memory, this book just won't go away. The bit describing the parcel of her brother's uniform, returned to the family from the trenches, after his death. The stench and decay of the tatters where it almost feels like a betrayal to be disgusted rather than hold them to your cheek. Problem with War is that people want to forget their own feelings of guilt and shame quite apart from loss of loved ones. I think maybe, Vera Brittain might have smiled at your description of the book as "dreadful"!
...talking of "drippy privileged people", I prescribe a stiff reading of "The Tree of Heaven" by May Sinclair. Half a cup of castor oil will do you the world of good.
Hannah Howell Privilege is perception and anyone who compares struggles will always think one is "more important" than the other. She wrote this book knowing she was coming from a privileged place and yet war and death spare no one no matter how "privileged" they are.
James I agree. I couldn't stand her self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and disdain for traditional English society.
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