Personal Accounts,
Novels, Etc.

As you may have guessed, there are an immense number of books on the Great War. Here are a few. If you don't find what you're looking for here, go to and do a search. Remember, if you link to Amazon through us and order online, we get a small percentage -- this will help keep reenactor.Net online!

You might find book reviews on the following books on their pages at If you would like to review a book, please submit your review to; if you would like to add a few clarifying words to my descriptions, please email me. I took most of the descriptions for these books right from the Osprey or pages.

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Reading List Main | Battles and Campaigns | Armies, Uniforms, Etc.
Trench Warfare, Tactics, Etc.
| Personal Accounts, Novels, Etc.
| Posters

cover The Storm of Steel: From the Diary of a...From the Diary of a German Stormtroop Officer on the Western Front by Ernst Jünger.

Ernst Junger wrote this book telling what he lived in the Great War. He describes it with full passion and impressing style, making you feel like you are being barraged in the the trenches or you are in the middle of an assault. It is interesting to know that, apart from being one of the most important German writers in this century, Junger was awarded with the last "Pour le merite," the Germany's highest medal for valour in action, given in that war. I was strongly suggested by a friend to read this book. I have not been disappointed.

Fritz; The World War One Memoirs of a German Lieutenant by Fritz Nagel: Blue Acorn Press: Huntington, WV, 1995. A GREAT book--I used to have it until I loaned it to a great book sink-hole and BAM, gone, never ta be seen again. ;-( Don't loan books people! This is a great book--Buy it! Read it! Treasure it!
All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque; Glosset & Dunlop: New York, 1929.

Reviewed by Ray Farmer (on

On the back cover of the 1996 hardcover edition is a B&W photograph of Remarque taken as a young man. Here we see a handsome face with stern eyes, a slight (maybe uncomfortable?) smile, meticulously well-groomed hair, and a buttoned-up shirt with properly donned necktie.

I had never read any of Remarque's works before and judging by this photo of him, I'll admit that I thought this book was going to be pretty stuffy and pretentious reading. I stand corrected!

I found "All Quiet on the Western Front" to be a moving portrayal of the effect of war on the human condition and its effect on society. Remarque tells the story through the eyes of the German soldier Paul Baumer, using a very direct and straightforward writing style that was easy to understand. This same writing style that expressed hints of humor and mischief when Paul was with his comrades in the lighter moments of the story just as easily portrayed blackness, destruction, and insanity whenever an artillery bombardment or an infantry attack came. It is remarkable.

A prevailing theme in this book is that war is hell and in the process of adapting to it, you lose some of your humanity. There's a psychological defense mechanism involved in not seeing your soldier buddies as anything more than bunkmates (instead of as people with families and aspirations) or the enemy as anything more than monsters trying to kill you.

"All Quiet on The Western Front" brought attention to social issues that affected WWI-era Germany, such as the "lost generation". This generation of German youths had been raised up on German patriotism and love of the fatherland, only to find out bitterly that these concepts rang hollow on the battlefields of WWI under artillery barrages and gas attacks. Taken directly out of school to fight the war, they had nothing to return to once the war ended. As Remarque wrote in the book, "We have been cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war." Published in 1928, "All Quiet on The Western Front" was a portent of what was to happen later to Germany and to the rest of Europe in the 20th century.

Bottom Line: We all know this is a famous book, but you just have to sit down and read it to find out why.

Back To the Front by Stephen O'Shea.

Review from Booklist

In places the Western Front still slashes across Belgium and France, visible among the cemeteries, ossuaries, and monuments as grassy, cratered terrain, zig-zagging trenches, crumbling pillboxes and forts. O'Shea, while working in publishing trenches in Paris, grew curious about the war's physical aftermath, and in several trips gathered his observations for this sensitively nuanced tour. For preparation, he steeped himself in the war's history and got reacquainted with the trench experience of his two Irish grandfathers. Both motifs contribute to the book's structure, which unfolds geographically as O'Shea hoofs it from the sea to Switzerland, encountering formerly muddy slaughterhouses euphemized as Ypres, the Somme, or Verdun. At each battle area O'Shea summarizes what generals hoped would happen and how they seemingly never learned from what did happen, a mulish obstinacy that palpably angers him. His contemporary vignettes vividly animate the trip, as do his reflections about the meaning of monument making. With this ambulant meditation and protest against militarism, O'Shea has created a high-stature addition to the classic works about the Great War. Gilbert Taylor

The World War One Source Book by Philip J. Hawthornthwaite.

Reviewed by Shawn Smith (on from Cumberland Gap, TN United StatesThe book has everything you need in order to understand all aspects of the war. The first part reviews the campaigns, naval operations, casualty lists, and chronology of the different fronts. The second part reviews the weapons and tactics from both sides. And, the third part, which is truly amazing, the author gives detailled reports on all the nations involved. The author obviously spent a great amount of time researching all the information required for the novel. The novel should be highly recommended for anyone interested in this dark period of our history.

The First World War by John Keegan. Despite the avalanche of books written about the First World War in recent years, there have been comparatively few books that deliver a comprehensive account of the war and its campaigns from start to finish. The First World War fills the gap superbly. As readers familiar with Keegan's previous books (including The Second World War and Six Armies in Normandy) know, he's a historian of the old school. He has no earth-shattering new theories to challenge the status quo, no first-person accounts to tug on the emotions--what he does have, though, is a gift for talking the lay person through the twists and turns of a complex narrative in a way that is never less than accessible or engaging.

Keegan never tries to ram his learning down your throat. Where other authors have struggled to explain how Britain could ever allow itself to be dragged into such a war in 1914, Keegan keeps his account practical. The level of communications that we enjoy today just didn't exist then, and so it was much harder to keep track of what was going on. By the time a message had finally reached the person in question, the situation may have changed out of all recognition. Keegan applies this same "cock-up" theory of history to the rest of the war, principally the three great disasters at Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele. The generals didn't send all those troops to their deaths deliberately, Keegan argues; they did it out of incompetence and ineptitude, and because they had no idea of what was actually going on at the front.

While The First World War is not afraid to point the finger at those generals who deserve it, even Keegan has to admit he doesn't have all the answers. If it all seems so obviously futile and such a massive waste of life now, he asks, how could it have seemed worthwhile back then? Why did so many people carry on, knowing they would die? Why, indeed. --John Crace,

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