Book Review of
Testament of Youth
Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Vera Brittain’s elegiac yet unsparing book, which set a standard for memoirists from Martha Gellhorn to Lillian Hellman. Abandoning her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, Brittain served in London, in Malta, and on the Western Front. By war’s end she had lost virtually everyone she loved. Testament of Youth is both a record of what she lived through and an elegy for a vanished generation. Hailed by the Times Literary Suplement as a book that helped “both form and define the mood of its time,” it speaks to any generation that has been irrevocably changed by war.
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain was first published in 1933. It is a memoir of WWI. I am not sure it was called a memoir when it was first published, but it reads very much like a modern day memoir. I feel like this is a memoir before memoirs were popular.
I love to read memoirs and this one is going to be added to my list of favorites. This book took me a while to read, but I am so glad I read it. The author, Vera Brittain, was a nurse during WWI. After the war, she wrote about her experiences.
The book has three sections. The first and second sections were my favorite. The third section is about after the war, and it was a slower read for me, but overall I loved this book. One of the reasons that I enjoyed it was because it is so different than any other memoirs that I have read.
Testament of Youth is about family, love, war, and so much more.
There is a movie based on this book that I can’t wait to watch.
If you enjoy memoirs nonfiction WWI books, or medical type reads I think you will enjoy this one.