Testament of Youth: (Movie Tie-In)

Testament of Youth: (Movie Tie-In)

Paperback(Movie Tie-In)

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Now a major motion picture starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, and Taron Egerton
In 1915 Vera Brittain abandoned her studies at Oxford to enlist as a nurse in the armed forces, serving in London, in Malta, and at the Western Front in France. By war’s end, all those closest to her were dead, and she had witnessed firsthand the destruction and suffering of modern combat.

Much of what we know and feel about the First World War we owe to Brittain’s Testament of Youth. In this elegiac yet unsparing memoir, Brittain focused on the men and women who came of age as war broke out, exploring their politics, their hopes, and their fatal idealism. Acclaimed by the Times Literary Supplement as a book that helped “both form and define the mood of its time,” this searing portrait is also a testament to every generation irrevocably changed by war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143108382
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/26/2015
Edition description: Movie Tie-In
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 593,278
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Vera Brittain (1893–1970) served as a nurse in the British armed forces in World War I and afterward devoted herself to the causes of peace and feminism. She wrote twenty-nine books, of which Testament of Youth is the best-known.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Foreword 11

Part I

Chapter I Forward from Newcastle 17

Chapter II Provincial Young-Lady hood 50

Chapter III Oxford versus War 94

Chapter IV Learning versus Life 135

Chapter V Camberwell versus Death 205

Part II

Chapter VI "When the Vision Dies…" 239

Chapter VII Tawny Island 290

Chapter VIII Between the Sandhills and the Sea 362

Chapter IX "This Loneliest Hour" 427

Part III

Chapter X Survivors Not Wanted 467

Chapter XI Piping for Peace 535

Chapter XII "Another Stranger" 606

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Testament of Youth 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While researching the role of women in WWI, I originally borrowed 'Testament of Youth' by Vera Brittain from the public library. I didn't realize what a treat I was in for. I assumed that I would glean a few facts from the book and return it to the library. What happened was that I couldn't put it down. It was like reading a suspense novel, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next and found myself in tears most of the time. It is sad that most of us have forgotten those gallant women. Some of us didn't even know they existed, or what they did. Their courage and endurance have faded into the past, buried in history, rarely remembered. I must return the book to the library, but have bought my own copy, I can't wait to loan it to my children and my friends. I wish Ms. Brittain were here today to know she's remembered with gratitude and praise.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed Brittain's style, her unbridled energy, her determined feminism, her sense of adventure. She does this in a colourful, descriptive style. There is much honesty and pure emotion, both positive and negative, which plunge the reader in the heart of her life: its miseries as well as its successes. While I appreciate this book is valuable as a detailed description of the times, I sometimes found it long and I slogged through many chapters: the dull years in France, the combative political implications. For historians, it is doubtless gold; for the fiction reader that I am, it is at times rather tedious. This doesn't take away, however, from the fact that Brittain is an exceptional woman of courage and strength, one who has done much for women's rights and one who has given a voice to an entire generation.
loveley More than 1 year ago
powerful book i love it
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To me and my contemporaries, with our cheerful confidence in the benignity of fate, War was something remote, unimaginable, its monstrous destructions and distresses safely shut up, like the Black Death and the Great Fire, between the covers of history books. ... What really mattered were not these public affairs, but the absorbing incidents of our own private lives -- and now, suddenly, the one had impinged upon the other, and public events and private lives had become inseparable. (p. 98)For those who read this memoir, War will never more be "something remote, unimaginable." It will be real, searingly painful, ineffective and so obviously wrong. When World War I broke out in 1914, Vera Brittain was only 18 and had recently overcome tremendous odds to be admitted to Oxford. When her fiancé Roland, her brother Edward, and two good friends all joined the Army, Brittain left her studies to become a nurse. She served first in London, later in Malta, and finally at the front in France before returning to England.Brittain was an early feminist; every decision she made went against the norm, something she was keenly aware of:Probably no ambitious girl who has lived in a family which regards the subservience of women as part of the natural order of creation ever completely recovers from the bitterness of her early emotions. Perhaps it is just as well; women have still a long way to travel before their achievements are likely to be assessed without irrelevant sex considerations entering in to bias the judgment of the critic ... (p. 59)She was driven, but also understood the "frivolity" of pursuing a degree in wartime. Her nursing experience forms the heart of this book, and is also the most emotional. Brittain describes each hospital's harsh and inadequate conditions, and some of the soldiers under her care. When she is assigned to a ward for German prisoners, the reader begins to understand that "the enemy" also have mothers, wives, and families who love them. And, while Brittain is "doing her bit," she experiences tremendous personal loss as those she loves lose their lives in the conflict. I found myself holding back tears, and cautiously turning the pages, fearing the next death.After the war, Brittain found that not only had her country changed, but so had she:Only the permanence of my fondest ambitions, and the strange and growing likeness of my son to Edward, reminds me that I am still the individual who went to Uppingham Speech Day in 1914, for although I was a student at Oxford in both my lives, it was not the same Oxford and I was not the same student. (p. 495)Her experience left permanent emotional scars, and she struggled to cope with being part of "the lost generation." Still, she was able to return to Oxford, and obtained her degree shortly after the university began awarding them to women. Brittain became a regular lecturer with the League of Nations Union. She returned to Europe, touring several countries to understand the impact and aftermath of the war; this once again brought home the pointlessness of it all.This is one of the most moving and powerful books I've ever read. If all you know of war is strategy, tactics, good guys and bad guys, then you must read this book. Brittain has left us an important legacy. In her words:Perhaps, after all, the best that we who were left could do was refuse to forget, and to teach our successors what we remembered in the hope that they, when their own day came, would have more power to change the state of the world than this bankrupt, shattered generation. (p.646)
Goldengrove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. It took me a long time to read it, partly because it made me cry, and partly because there is so much to take in and consider. Vera Brittain was part of the generation that fought the First World War, and her memoir recalls the agony of that conflict clearly, intelligently, with anger and grief. Her brother and their friends, including her fiancee, were her most immediate and painful link to the war, but after training as a nurse she faced head-on the horror of broken and tortured bodies. No one could be left unchanged by such experience, and in Vera's case it lead her to campaign for peace the rest of her life.Testament of Youth touched me deeply. It is an important book - a record of the shattering of the innocence of the pre-war generation that should be required reading.
SheReadsNovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't read many non-fiction books or biographies/autobiographies so this was something different for me. It was fascinating to read a personal account of the effects the war had on one woman's life and on society as a whole. Reading this book made me realise how little I actually knew about World War I. A lot of the places and events mentioned in the book were unfamiliar to me and left me wanting to find out more.As I read about all the pain and sorrow she was forced to endure, I became completely absorbed in Vera Brittain's story. I found it very inspirational that despite having her entire world torn apart by the war, she was still able to go on to build a successful career for herself as a novelist, feminist and pacifist.Testament of Youth was a long, demanding and often heartbreaking book, but I'm glad I read it and I feel I learned a lot from it
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I probably would have never picked this book up if it had not been on the Stanford Book Salon reading list for this year. The author tells the very public story of the events leading to the First World War, and of the War itself, but from a personal perspective of a young woman lost in the power of the events. Her personal loss and her absolute powerlessness were shattering to read, and make me realize how much the impact of history fades with time -- for if it didn't, we as a people would never be able to repeat such events, or find new and better ways to destroy ourselves. One of the more interesting parts of the book was reading about the role of women at the time, including education. She is a witness how difficult it was for women to get an education at that time.But her memoirs are also a powerful look at someone who stands at the margins of history, powerless to change things, in almost every way, except through her writing. Hers is a rare account of what it is to be a woman in that time of war.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Testament of Youth is Vera Brittain¿s extremely in-depth autobiography of her childhood, years spent as a volunteer nurse during WWI, and the years spent afterwards as a student at Oxford. It covers her relationship with Roland and burgeoning friendship with Winifred Holtby (towards whom, interestingly enough, Brittain felt antagonistic when they first met!) Although Brittain conveys to her reader the sadness and pointlessness of war, I felt that the book could have benefitted by being about 100-200 pages shorter.
brenzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How fortunate that Vera Brittain lived at a time when people kept diaries and wrote letters because it enabled her to reconstruct, through her correspondence, the years prior to, during and following WWI. And from there she composed and published her fascinating autobiography, Testament of Youth. Published originally in 1933, Brittain initially wanted to write a novel that concentrated on the war years, but finally realized that her autobiography was a better story than any she could invent. She was made aware, early on, that men had an unfair advantage in life, and she spent her life trying to remedy that situation. As an early feminist, she began her quest by trying to win acceptance into Oxford. When it actually becomes a reality, she is ecstatic over the possibilities that lie ahead of her when it becomes apparent that the war rumblings that have been in the distance are now crowding the front page and Britain¿s involvement can no longer be denied. She desperately wants to be involved, as her brother and male friends are, but most doors are closed to her. As the war heats up, correspondence with those on the front becomes more and more important:¿The fight around Hill 60 which was gradually developing, assisted by the unfamiliar horror of gas attacks, into the Second Battle of Ypres, did nothing to restore my faith in the benevolent intentions of Providence. With that Easter vacation began the wearing anxiety of waiting for letters which for me was to last, with only brief intervals, for more than three years, and which, I think, made all non-combatants feel more distracted than anything else in the War. Even when the letters came they were four days old, and the writer since sending them had had time to die over and over again. My diary, with its long-drawn-out record of days upon days of miserable speculation, still gives a melancholy impression of that nerve-wracking suspense.¿ (Page 116)Brittain goes on to leave Oxford in order to serve as a volunteer nurse with the armed forces and served in Malta, France and London. She saw the horrors of war first hand and suffered tremendous losses of her own over the war years. She presents her narrative by including verses written by the poets of the day (including herself), too numerous to mention. This inclusion made me realize that this no longer happens as we wend out way through the war that¿s been going on for the last ten years. As the war winds down, her devotion to the plight of inequality for women continues:¿Half-frantic with the misery of conflicting obligations, I envied Edward his complete powerlessness to leave the army whatever happened at home. Today, remembering the violent clash between family and profession, between `duty¿ and ambition, between conscience and achievement, which has always harassed the women now in their thirties and forties, I find myself still hoping that if the efforts of various interested parties succeed in destroying the fragile international structure built up since the Armistice, and war breaks out on a scale comparable to 1914, the organizers of the machine will not hesitate to conscript all women under fifty for service at home or abroad.¿ (Page 366)Once the War is over, Vera can set her sights on feminist issues and the securing of a lasting peace as she meets and becomes best friends with Winifred Holtby. I am impressed by Brittain¿s passionate accounting of WWI and those courageous people who fought the war on all fronts. I admire her dedication to both the feminist movement and the peace movement. I finished this book well over a week ago and yet can¿t get it out of my mind. It is truly a memorable read and, therefore, highly recommended.
tangential1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this is the only non-fiction book that I have ever voluntarily picked up, let alone finished. Does anything else really need to be said about it?This is an amazing book and should be used in schools in place of all that dry history junk that we are forced to endure. On the one hand this is an autobiography, but on the other it's a discussion of politics during and after the first world war. It's an interesting mix because the author herself didn't really have an interest in politics until after all of her experiences during the war. My biggest annoyance with history is that it cuts out all the people involved. We learn about dates and leaders and wars and catastrophes, but it's always second hand and always from afar; there are no people in history and thus I find it hard to care about what's going on. Ms. Brittain's story is first and foremost about herself; her academic ambitions, her relationships to friends and family, the losses she suffered, the lessons she learned, the interests and skills she developed. And in her descriptions of these things we learn about the historical events that caused them. As she says, national and international events have a frustrating tendency to force their way into personal events. For this reason, I found it very easy to sympathize with her story and in doing so, my interest in the things that she became interested/involved in grew with hers. I'm now finding myself wanting to search out the memoirs and literary works of her contemporaries which she mentions in several places throughout the book.Definitely a recommended read.
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A master of the memior genre. Brittain grew up as sheltered, but highly intelligent, middle class English girl. As she grew into adulthood the force of WW1 changed her forever. The forces of war altered not only her individual life but the definition of her class. Her first love and fiance was killed in early in war, inspiring her to join the war effort as a nurse. Her brother, with whom she was very close was killed later the war. Throughout the long tome she shares with you here inspiring inner thoughts on the role of women, love, pain, and how individuals respond to war. Her accounts of the deep changes WW1 forced at Oxford, such as the involvement of women and the admittance of the "lower" class, are fascinating. An excellent choice to read in parallel with the Remains of the Day.
ksmyth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Testament of Youth is written after the war, and in fact follows Brittain through 1925. One senses the effect the loss of her fiancee, friend and brother had upon her, and the disillusionment she felt. Testament is a well-written and moving story of a young woman who wanted to make a difference, and did, but suffered incredibly along the way.
Vanlh More than 1 year ago
Powerful and important. Can't reoommend it high enough.
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