The Wasted Generation by Owen Johnson
The Wasted Generation is a philosophical study of one man's groping progress to maturity,looking deep within himself and deep into the world around him, trying to make sense of it all, trying to see where things went wrong and what to do to make them right again. I cannot help but think that Johnson dealt with all of the issues he has his main character David Littledale puzzle through. This idea is what seems to me so sadly intriguing about WWI: it completely changed the direction society was heading. For all the people who expected life to remain forever a certain way, this had to have been a huge shock. Johnson explores that idea and much more in a way that gripped me from start to finish.
We meet David Littledale when he is behind the lines recuperating from injuries received at the battle of Verdun. He is an American who was in France before the war began, a member of the privileged class who spent his time as most young people of his station did: partying, searching for entertainment, trying so hard not to be bored with life that the pursuit of stimulation itself became boring.
Owen McMahon Johnson was an American writer best remembered for his stories and novels cataloguing the educational and personal growth of the fictional character Dink Stover. The "Lawrenceville Stories", set in the well-known prep school, invite comparison with Kipling's Stalky & Co