Doris Lessing's Battle Scars


AT EASE: Lessing looks back on her parents' war-torn lives

In 1920s Rhodesia, leopards and snakes roamed the bush. Yet for 6-year-old Doris Lessing, this inhospitable environment offered a welcome refuge from her parents: Alfred, a soldier whose leg had been shattered by shrapnel in World War I, and Emily, a wartime nurse who helped to amputate it. Crouched in a patch of brush, Lessing would cover her ears and shout, "I won't listen," in an effort to drown out her parents' incessant talk of tanks, howitzers and death. "The trenches were as present to me as anything I actually saw around me," Lessing recalls in her riveting new book Alfred...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!