top of page

Chapter 43 - A Soldier of the Great War

November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, often described as the war to end all wars. Actually the aftermath of the war, especially the Versailles Peace Treaty, did much to set up World War II and subsequent wars including events currently happening the Middle East. As the first fully mechanized war - tanks and bombers, for example - it was the first time "shell shock" or what is now known as PTSD was diagnosed and treated. Also the war may be credited for the development of surgical procedures, prosthetics, and other medical advances that came out of battlefield medical practices.

But this blog is not to give a history lesson but to turn you on to some terrific books taking place in the era before, during and after World War I.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason - This book is about a young medical student in Vienna, Lucius, who joins up with the Austrian army to be a doctor. At his first posting he meets a nun, Sister Margarete, and learns much about battlefield medicine from her. An interesting book from a different perspective.

In Falling Snow: A Novel by Mary-Rose MacColl - Iris Crane, a young nurse, leaves her home in Australia in search of her 15 year old brother who has lied about his age to join the war effort. In Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in an old abbey, staffed entirely by women—a decision that will change her life.

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd - In 1916 Bess Crawford decides to become a nurse to help the British war effort. One of her patients asks that she take a message to his brother in England. In order to honor her promise, Bess returns to England and contacts the soldier's family who seem unconcerned about the message. Bess quickly finds that her "duty to the dead" can lead her into intrigue, mystery, and possibly even death.

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan - If you've ever wondered how World War II happened read this terrific non-fiction book about the how Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau met over six months in Paris with a goal to shape a lasting peace. Their failure and the Treaty of Versailles had an enormous impact on the world. Margaret MacMillan's easy to read history puts a lot of subsequent events into context.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - Another historian who makes his subject as interesting as a novel, Dead Wake tells the story of how and why the Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner filled with women and children, was targeted by German submarines in early 1915.

Do you have any favorite World War I books either fiction or non-fiction?

You may order these and other books at

bottom of page