A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

About the book

In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the ‘war to end all wars’. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came his early masterpiece, A Farewell to Arms. In an unforgettable depiction of war, Hemingway recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteers and the men and women he encounters along the way with conviction and brutal honesty. A love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion, A Farewell to Arms offers a unique and unflinching view of the world and people, by the winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

Reviewed by Whitchurch Book Group

“An unexpected love story, and shows the futility of war. Some very good characters.Some enjoyed it more than others.

star rating ***

 

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

The Junior Officer’s Reading Club by Patrick Hennessey

About the book

Patrick Hennessey is pretty much like any other member of Generation X: he spent the first half of the noughties reading books at university, going out, listening to early-90s house on his iPod and watching war films. He also, as an officer in the Grenadier guards, fought in some of the most violent combat the British army has seen in decades.

Telling the story of how a modern soldier is made, from the testosterone-heavy breeding ground of Sandhurst to the nightmare of Iraq and Afghanistan, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club is already being hailed as a modern classic.

 

Reviewed by Between the Leaves

“Not an easy read, but an interesting insight to the psychology of those involved in warfare

star rating ***

 

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

The Fort by Bernard Cornwell

About the book

Summer 1779.

Seven hundred and fifty British soldiers and three small ships of the Royal Navy. Their orders: to build a fort above a harbour to create a base from which to control the New England seaboard.

Forty-one American ships and over nine hundred men. Their orders: to expel the British.

The battle that followed was a classic example of how the best-laid plans can be disrupted by personality and politics, and of how warfare can bring out both the best and worst in men.

 

Reviewed by 2nd Fordingbridge U3A

Interesting for anyone into military history

star rating **

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

 

Mr Dear, I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young

book cover

About the book

While Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke fight for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders, Nadine Waveney, Julia Locke and Rose Locke do what they can at home.

Reviewed by Hawkley Reading Group

Everyone enjoyed this book, a strong “page turning” narrative and we found ourselves discussing aspects of war and medicine, stimulated by the story. A few of us found the characterisation a bit simplistic…

Star rating: ****

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 
 
 
 

Yellow birds by Kevin Powers

About the book

Poet and veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival.

Reviewed by Women Who Read

Well written but very poetic language and for the subject matter that, at times, made it seem a bit unreal. We found the time leaps quite complicated to keep track off. Worth reading but a real long lasting war classic.

Star rating: ***

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 

The Year after by Martin Davies

December 1919. Tom Allen, uncomfortable in London after five years in uniform, receives an invitation to spend Christmas at Hannesford Court. It’s almost as if nothing has changed. Cards in the library after dinner. The Boxing Day shoot. The New Year ball. Margot. But Tom hasn’t forgotten the professor.

Reviewed by Fareham Library 5:30 Reading Group

This pre- and post-world war book raised soem interesting issues for us – but in a superficial way. We liked the insights into how the wat and the end of the war changed both the soldiers and how those left at home seemed not to want to change. But there wasn’r enough depth to the issues raised. soem of us would read another boko by this author to see if he can use more depth.

Star rating: **

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 

The Last Fighting Tommy by Harry Patch

About the book

Harry Patch, 110 years old, is the last British soldier alive to have fought in the trenches of the First World War. From his vivid memories of an Edwardian childhood, the horror of the Great War and fighting in the mud during the Battle of Passchendaele, working on the home front in the Second World War and fame in later life as a veteran, The Last Fighting Tommy is the story of an ordinary man’s extraordinary life.

Reviewed by  Cowdray Reading Group:

Some of the group found it difficult to get into, but most enjoyed it. The social comment, the futility of war, war as organised murder was interesting. Some surprised at what an ordinary chap Harry Patch was and his lack of interest and enthusiasm for being a soldier. All found it an honest story and enjoyed the two writers.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 

The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh

About the book

Kien’s job is to search the Jungle of Screaming Souls for corpses. He knows the area well – this was where, in the dry season of 1969, his battalion was obliterated by American napalm and helicopter gunfire. Kien was one of only ten survivors. This book is his attempt to understand the eleven years of his life he gave to a senseless war.
Based on true experiences of Bao Ninh and banned by the communist party, this novel is revered as the ‘All Quiet on the Western Front for our era’.

Reviewed by Yateley Library Reading Group:

This book provoked very strong reaction. 50% loved it, 50% hated it. A good discussion was had. Generally people thought it provoked the pointlessness of war very well but was sometimes harrowing. Hard to read as it jumped between past and present and future. Worth preserving with.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Winchester Children's Book Festival Logo

About the book

“They’ve gone now, and I’m alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won’t waste a single moment of it . . . I want tonight to be long, as long as my life . . .” For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly — the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger.

Reviewed by Reading EnthusiastsReading Group:

The book was beautifully written and very descriptive. However, some characters divided our group – especially Charlie. The story was very moving and the ending even moved some of our book club to tears.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set

A gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

About the book

With America quietly gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, a ‘half-Jewish’ farmer’s daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university – escaping her provincial home to encounter the complex world of culture and politics.
When she takes a job as a part-time nanny to a couple who seem at once mysterious and glamorous, Tassie is drawn into the life of their newly-adopted child and increasingly complicated household. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her – her parents seem older when she visits; her disillusioned brother ever more fixed on joining the military – Tassie finds herself becoming a stranger to herself. As the year unfolds, love leads her to new and formative experiences – but it is then that the past and the future burst forth in dramatic and shocking ways.
Refracted through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a lyrical, beguiling and wise novel of our times.

Reviewed by Damzals Reading Group:

Some extreme scenes. Wide appeal. Well written, good use of language.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set