I just read Testament of Youth
Posted by Kay on September 17, 1998 at 10:20:22:
In response to sadness, written by Jane on September 16, 1998 at 09:57:38
] I read it years ago, and it also made a strong impression on me. The first world war seems overshadowed by WWII, but it is astonishing to realize how it wiped out a whole generation of men. One thing I learned from it is that virtually all the educated and upper class men immediately signed up--(contrast this with the Americans in the Viet Nam war, where so many people tried to get out of serving, and education was a way to do so).
I've long wanted to read "Testament of Youth" and finally read it this summer. The ardor for war seemed to hit the men in Vera Brittain's age group; those born in the 1880s were a little more cynical and weren't as quick to sign up. Those born in the later 1890s and early 1900s saw the results of the war and thought those in Vera Brittain's generation were stupid to sign up.
Maybe it's not a lack of idealism that caused men in my generation to avoid the Vietnam war. Maybe they learned from the experience of Vera Brittain's generation. We certainly could see old movies such as "All Quiet on the Western Front" that showed war in all its horror (not to mention more modern anti war movies.
But as you say, there was no clear cut, easy to state reason for fighting in either World War I or the Vietnam War. Vera Brittain realized that men were going off to fight mainly to save the reputation of the Minister of War.
It's a wonderful, poignant, story and Vera's experiences as a war nurse are very interesting. I wonder if anybody remembers the old Masterpiece Theater version with Cheryl Campbell as Vera.
- Responses Hil 21:41:44 9/17/98 (0)
- Masterpiece Theater and was there a sequel?? KateMcQ 19:19:15 9/17/98 (1)
- Saw it, was moved by it, about the Testament of Experience: sanna 03:30:22 9/18/98 (0)
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