Nothing in the papers, not the most vivid & heart-rending descriptions, have made me realise war like your letters' Vera Brittain to Roland Leighton, 17 April 1915. This selection of letters, written between 1913 & 1918, between Vera Brittain & 4 young men - her fiance Roland Leighton, her brother Edward & their close friends Victor Richardson & Geoffrey Thurlow present a remarkable & profoundly moving portrait of 5 young people caught up in the cataclysm of total war. Roland, 'Monseigneur', is the 'leader' & his letters most clearly trace the path leading from idealism to disillusionment. Edward, ' Immaculate of the Trenches', was orderly & controlled, down even to his attire. Geoffrey, the 'non-militarist at heart' had not rushed to enlist but put aside his objections to the war for patriotism's sake & volunteered. Victor on the other hand tried to convince himself that he could take on the mantle of the warrior & become a military hero. Possessed of a very sweet character he was known as 'Father Confessor'. The letters of this generation offer an important historical testimony while telling a powerful story of idealism, disillusionment and personal tragedy.