The destination for history

17 First World War books recommended by our military experts


There are many books on World War I, covering everything from individual battles to the particular heroic deeds of soldiers faced with the horrors of modern warfare. Here our authors choose their favourite war memoirs and strategic military tomes which offer a better understanding of both the conflict and the lives impacted by it. 

Nothing of Importance by Bernard Adams. Eight months in the trenches with a 1st Royal Welsh Fusilier.

Undertones of War by Edmund Blunden. A ‘compassionate yet unsentimental’ autobiography from France’s frontlines.

The Somme by Gary Sheffield. From the battle’s strategy to the experiences of everyday soldiers.

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. A young woman and her entire generation are changed forever by The Great War.

The War the Infantry Knew by Captain Dunn. First published in a tiny print run in 1938 and now a classic account.

Somme by Lyn Macdonald. Based on vivid accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors.

Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves. The bitter and haunting autobiography of British poet and novelist.

Stand To by F.C. Hitchcock. A diary from an Irish soldier who fought from May 1915 to the end of the war.

The Somme Battlefields by Martin and Mary Middlebrook. A guide to the area’s trenches and memorials.

Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger. The conflict through the eyes of a German soldier.

Her Private’s We by Frederic Manning. An honest portrait of the Somme from an ordinary soldier’s perspective.

Somme: The Heroism and the Horror of War by Martin Gilbert. Diaries, letters, war records, and poetry are woven together.

An Onlooker in France by William Orpen. The only official war artist’s memoir of the First World War.

Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards. Graphically details life and death in the trenches with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Twelve Days on the Somme by Sidney Rogerson. A frank memoir of the West Yorkshire Regiment and the battle’s last days.

The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston by Siegfried Sassoon. The war poet’s semi-autobiographical trilogy.

Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century by William Philpot. How the battle changed the course of history.

Sign up for our newsletter

show more books