Review also includes:
Women’s War, 978-0237523053
This quartet, produced in association with the Imperial War Museum, mines the fertile seam of the Home Front. Mining can be a hazardous process and produce large quantities of dross, but, when skilfully done, real riches can be revealed. And so it is here – a host of accurately evocative images illustrates each facet of the war at home, and Ross’s text provides brilliantly objective explanation throughout.
The Blitz introduces the German concept of community-erasure and its results in British cities before moving to the Allies’ enthusiastic uptake of the idea that culminated in the obscenity of Hiroshima.
Evacuation shows not only the experience of evacuees in their transplanted situations but the reaction of those who were evacuated upon. It also deals with the life of children who lived out the war at home in bombed cities.
Rationing takes us into the banana-less world of dried egg and Spam, reminding us that not just food was rationed, but clothes as well, and some rationing didn’t end until 1954. Fewer sweets, less meat, liberal cod liver oil, and orange juice resulted in a generation of children healthier than in pre-war times!
Women’s War looks at women in the Services, on the land (in breeches unnervingly like Hitler’s), doing ‘men’s’ jobs in industry, and holding households together.
This is a splendid foursome which will pilot the newcomer to the war at home and evoke myriad memories amongst those who were there at the time. The books will probably be at their best shared between these two generations, but, with their excellent layout, admirably clear texts, generous and imaginative biblio- and website-ographies, will amply reward the wide audience that they deserve to attract.