This weekly meme was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme is Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.
I decided to create my list of Books to Complement a History Lessons. I believe that the best books to complement history lessons are biographies or memoirs of survivors of some of the most horrific events in history. Such books will stay with you forever; those books will shake you and show you the history through the eyes of regular people. Those books will show you a number of pain people went through to survive. We need to read their stories, to remember. Reading such memoirs will shake you more than the dry text of history book, with those books you will experience the horrors of wars, rebellions, dictatorships, and you will remember that those things happened.
Testament of Youth
by Vera Brittain
HISTORY LESSON: Word War I
Pub Date: 1933
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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 Supplement 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.