Testament of Youth (1933)
The consequences of the slaughter of their menfolk on the lives of the women were immense. Vera Brittain, 20 years old and a middle-class bluestocking when the war began, lost her brother, three close male friends and the man she loved, Roland Leighton, who died in France in December 1915.
Brittain, who worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse in London, Malta and France, described the impact on her life in a cathartic memoir, Testament of Youth. Its message was of grief and loss as she struggled to remake the life she had imagined for herself before disaster struck. It became a classic that resonated down the rest of the 20th century. Despite her fame and success, she never quite escaped from the shadows of the war. When she died in 1970, her ashes were scattered on her brother’s grave in Italy.