15 Great World War 1 Fiction Novels

A Farewell To Arms (Ernest Hemingway) – A semi-autobiographical novel depicting Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving in the Italian army during World War I. When Henry gets wounded while at the front he is sent to a hospital where he meets a nurse, Catherine. They soon fall in love and together they abandon the army.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque) – An intense first person account of the war describing the experience of German soldier Paul Bäumer and his friends. The story is about their horrifying time in the trenches on the western front.

Company K (William March) – Written in 1933 by an American veteran of The Great War, this novel consists of 113 episodes each describing the experience of a different man in the company.

The Good Soldier Svejk (Jaroslav Hašek) – A satirical novel about the futility of war. Svejk from Prague joins the Austrian army and manages to constantly frustrate the officers with his incompetence and idiocy. If his incompetence is real or acted is not clear, and it ends with Svejk being mistakenly taken prisoner by his own troops while wearing a Russian uniform. This novel is 700+ pages long and might require some patience to get through, but it is still an enjoyable story.

A Long Long Way (Sebastian Barry) – In 1914 nineteen year-old Willie Deane from Dublin joins the British army to help fight the Germans on the Western Front. This is a story about divided loyalties. While away the Irish band together against the British rule and this complicates things for Willie – whose country is he fighting for, Ireland or England?

The Great War: American Front (Harry Turtledove) – An alternate history novel where the Confederate States has won the American civil war. When World War I spreads to America the pro-German United States declares war on the Confederate States of America, which is allied with Great Britain and France.

Greenmantle (John Buchan) – The adventure of Richard Hanney who is called to investigate rumours about an Islamic uprising in the Muslim world. He travels across warn-torn Europe to meet up with his friend in Turkey. Their success or failure could change the outcome of the war.

The Return of the Soldier (Rebecca West) – The story is about Captain Chris Baldry, a shell shocked British soldier, who returns home and is unable to remember the last 15 years of his life. The novel examines the relationship of Baldry, and the three women who are important to him: Kitty – his wife of 10 years, Margaret – who he loved 15 years ago – and Jenny, his cousin.

One of Ours (Willa Cather) – Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923. The story about Claude Wheeler, a farm boy from Nebraska who struggles to find a purpose in life. When America enters the war he finds what he has been searching for his whole life.

A Soldier of the Great War (Mark Helprin) – World War 1 veteran Alessandro Giuliani shares his past to a young factory worker as they are traveling. The old man tells the story about how he became a soldier, hero, prisoner and deserter in the Great war.

A Test of Wills (Charles Todd) – After the war Ian Rutledge returns home to his job at Scotland Yard. Shell shocked and traumatized from the war he struggles and must gather all his strength when he is assigned a murder case involving an army colonel – with a captain as the prime suspect.

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (Siegfried Sassoon) – A fictionalized autobiography, published in 1930, of Sassoon’s experiences in the trenches of The Great War between the spring of 1916 and summer of 1917.

To the Last Man (Jeff Shaara) – A novel told from several different perspectives, using both real historical figures and fictional characters. An emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established USA as a world power.

Three Soldiers (John Dos Passos) – Based on Passos’s personal experiences of World War 1 this novel describes much of the war fatigue many felt during and after the war. It shows how the war destroys the life of three men: Andrews, a Harvard graduate from New York; Fuselli, an Italian-American man from San Francisco; and Chrisfield, a farm boy from Indiana.

The Road Back (Erich Maria Remarque) – World War I has finally ended after four years and now Ernst and the men from his company wonder what will become of them. The book describes the experience of young German soldier’s trying to integrate back into a society they feel is morally bankrupt for causing the war. Suffering political unrest and food shortages, Ernst learns what makes life worth living – and what he has that no one can ever take away.

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