War affects life writing and lives affect war writing. The traditional forms of life writing—memoir, biography, letters, diaries—buckle under the strain of war. War writing has fewer traditional forms but exists at a similar extreme. The eight chapters in this book, covering a range of genres, and spanning from the early 1800s to the 21st century, illuminate the creative innovations, improvisations and implosions which happen when the demands of writing war and writing lives collide. Central to all is the question of authenticity: how can wars and lives be known and who can speak of them with authority? This book was originally published as a special issue of Textual Practice.