A selection of the powerful and poignant wartime letters of Vera Brittain and her friends.
"If war spares me," wrote Vera Brittain to her brother, Edward, in 1916, "it will be my one aim to immortalise in a book the story of us four." Seventeen years later, Vera was to achieve her aim with the acclaimed Testament of Youth.
This series of letters was the inspiration behind Testament. Written between Vera; her brother; her fiancé, Roland Leighton; and their two best friends, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow, they give a unique perspective on the most horrifying conflict the world has ever seen. They show the heartbreaking disillusionment of an idealistic public-school generation, raised on ideas of patriotism and duty, as the reality of war emerged. Yet they also give a fascinating insight into the era as a whole: their generation’s literary tastes and the place of women in society.
Read by Amanda Root, Jonathan Firth, Rupert Graves, James Wallace, and Robert Portal, and first heard on BBC Radio 4, these deeply moving letters let us hear for ourselves the voices of Vera Brittain’s lost generation.
If you could sum up Letters from a Lost Generation in three words, what would they be?
Gone too young.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Letters from a Lost Generation?
Each time Vera received a telegram you could just feel the pain.
What about the narrators’s performance did you like?
I thought all the performances were wonderful. I especially enjoyed Jonathan Firth as Edward Brittain. He did a lovely job capturing the journey from idealism to fatalism.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Only their words were left behind.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
While nice to hear a throwback to an earlier time, the effort to localize it made it somewhat distracting, and the quality was low.
Fantastic story, but they cut out half the book. ONLY downside. Apart from that, amazing.
This is the story of the people in Vera Britain’s life who fought in the First World War, told through the letters they exchanged with Vera Britain and each other. Through the letters, we discover how the war changes the attitudes of the characters towards love and war.
The dramatization can be completed in 3 days. Go to the end of 1915 on the first day, the middle of 1917 on the second day, and the end on the third day.
My criticisms are that the sounds of war are too faint, and the readers sound older than the characters whose letters they are reading. None of this detracts from the bringing to life off the letters.
What did you like most about Letters from a Lost Generation?
Whilst heavily abridged from the original book this audible version is exceptionally well narrated. After becoming emotional over Testament of Youth this book, with the reading of their letters, brings home the horror of what Vera Brittain must of felt during that terrible war.