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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Vera Brittain - Testament of Youth

review written by Sue Majors and read out live on the bookshow 9th April 2015

In 1914 Vera Brittain was twenty one , the daughter of a privileged home and an undergraduate at Somerville College Oxford. When war broke out she suspended her studies and enrolled as a volunteer nurse working with casualties in England, France and Malta.
The next four years were to cause her to witness the horrors of war  as she learned quickly to nurse men who were badly wounded , and to experience significant prejudice from the professional nurses back home. She also lost her brother and fiance who were fighting in France.

This is a powerful memoir and it is in the most part enthralling. It is beautifully written...her vocabulary is extensive...but I found the latter part of the book where she begins to develop her interest in politics after the war to be long-winded and hence not as fascinating . She obviously used her extensive diaries and letters to recount her story , and for me it tells honestly of a courageous young woman who dealt with heartache and strife with eternal optimism.

It is a worthwhile read, and one that I recommend to anyone who likes autobiographies and anyone who is interested in  WW1.

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