Essential WWI Novels for ‘Downton Abbey’ Fans

It’s a whole new world on Season 2 of Downton Abbey — and that world is World War I. Servants and aristocrats alike are enlisting in the army, while the women are doing what they can on the homefront, and people from all walks of life are wondering how the conflict will affect Britain’s deeply entrenched class system. One episode in, we’ve only gotten a small taste of the Great War, but it’s reminded us of what a fascinating (and often horrifying) historical moment it was. If Downton has you curious to read more about the war, we’ve got just the book list for you. Nine great novels about World War I are after the jump.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Perhaps the most famous World War I novel around the world, All Quiet on the Western Front follows a young soldier named Paul Bäumer and his friends in the German army as they experience the simultaneous trauma and boredom of war. This realist account, written by a veteran, depicts the extreme alienation that comes from watching your compatriots die and becoming a killer yourself, and exposes the tragedy of a generation of men from around the world who have been pitted against each other for no good reason.