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Testament Of Experience: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1925-50 Paperback – 16 Aug 1979

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Paperback, 16 Aug 1979
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New edition edition (16 Aug. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860681106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860681106
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

The English author, pacifist, and feminist offers personal insights into her life, discussing her marriage, family, and development as a writer together with the impact of the Second World War.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Towards the end of this autobiographical account of the years 1925 to 1950, Vera Brittain took part in a conference in India. Originally arranged in consultation with Gandhi, but sadly not held until after his assassination, the objective had been for 50 internationally prominent pacifists to meet Gandhi to discuss the creation of peace through spiritual power. Gandhi specified that those invited should be those who had been "a hundred per cent reliable". Brittain expands, "He wanted to meet only those war resisters who had stood firm against the basically fascist attempts of their communities to make them conform, and who saw the war against war as something even larger - a fight for the integrity of man's free mind".

Vera Brittain unquestionably qualified. Pacifism in a time of peace may be relatively easy; in time of war it comes at great personal cost. She never wavered, but was at all times hugely concerned for those who suffer as a result of war, the overwhelming majority of whom, on all sides, are blameless with respect to the causes of the war. Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925 (Virago classic non-fiction), covering her experiences before, during and in the aftermath of the First World War, left us in no doubt of the pacifism that she was to carry through the rest of her life, and of the reasoning that led an intelligent and articulate young woman to adopt that stance. Testament of Experience takes that forward through the years of depression, the rise of Nazism, appeasement, the Second World War, and the first years of the Cold War.

Her first ambition was to establish herself as a novelist.
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By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 May 2015
Format: Paperback
I have read Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth three times. The first time was when I was 18 and it was a set work for A level English; the teacher absolutely hated it. The second time was about five years later when I didn't have to worry about an exam. I enjoyed it more that time. The third time was about 10 years ago after I had been on holiday in Malta where Vera Brittain had been working as a nurse during the First World War.

I have now finally got round to reading the sequel, Testament of Experience. I regret the delay because it is a fascinating sequel covering the years from 1925 to 1950 (when the writer aged from 32 to 57) because it put in context much of what was written in Testament of Youth. For instance, I had not realised the impact that book had had. It was an instant bestseller that eclipsed everything else that Vera Brittain wrote and it also explains how sketchy the description of her husband was. Her fiance, Roland Leighton, her brother Edward and their friends Victor and Geoffrey, who all died in WW1 all come over far more vividly than her husband George Catlin. This is because George asked for most comment on him to be removed.

I had not realised that Vera Brittain was a novelist. None of the novels is in print and I believe that critics have found little of merit in them to justify reissue. She does describe their plots in Testament of Experience and the impression is that they are autobiographical in nature so it safer to read the non-fiction books anyway.

In my opinion, this is a really interesting read. I enjoyed reading her insights into the peace campaigning in the 1930s, her comments on the futility of bombing campaigns in the Second World War and the descriptions of the deprivation found in post-war Europe.
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A great book, beautifully and poetic. I love the broad coverage of British, European and American history and current events, with Vera Brittain's personal life. The book is hard to put down, and leaves a gap when finished until you find another equally engaging, sometimes easier than done.

Vera Brittain is a wonderful writer and most impressive person, larger than life.
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Extremely interesting history, especially if you have read Testament of Youth. The thing which impressed me most was the level of interest in politics shown by the public in years gone by, before we were all distracted by television and the internet. People seem to have been really concerned with what was happening in the world. I continued the story by reading Shirley Williams' autobiography 'Climbing the Bookshelves' and it was interesting to re-read some stories from Testament of Experience.
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Format: Paperback
Excelent reading, can not put it down.
This is a follow up to Testament to Youth, also read and Testament to Friendship waiting to read.
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This book gives me a clear picture of both the author's personal life and of the times she lived through. Well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Following on from here earlier book Testament of Youth the expectation here was pretty high. Whilst the book is well written and provides a good record of the period and her part in it (and in particular of life during the war and under the bombing) it does raise questions. There are a few inaccuracies of dates - for example she refers to "gas chambers" before they were even tested and spends large parts of the book implying that WW2 was "our fault". Clearly she lead a somewhat disjointed family life with husband away a lot of the time and the kids put into boarding school, shipped off to Canada or left with friends and relations so she could continue her work. It feels at times as though the rest of the family is an inconvenience. There are some good descriptions of Europe in 45/46 which are rare, after which is fizzles out a touch to the end.
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