Regeneration by Pat Barker is a classic exploration of how the traumas of war brutalised a generation of young. The poets and soldiers Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen are dispatched to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland in 1917. There, army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating brutalised, shell-shocked men. It is Rivers' job to fix these men and make them ready to fight again. As a witness to the traumas they have endured, can he in all conscience send them back to the horrors of the trenches? (From Viking)
From the book
I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.
I have seen and endured the suffering of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.
I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.
From Regeneration by Pat Barker ©1991. Published by Viking.