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Search tags: 20th-century-england
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review 2019-11-17 02:59
WWII History Part 4 of 4
Stranger in the House: Women's Stories of Men Returning from the Second World War - Julie Summers

Funnily enough, I read this book last even though it was the first one that Summers wrote on the subject. Stranger in the House focuses on the men returning from the war and the effects that the war and separation from hearth and home had on themselves and the women in their lives. In the early 20th century, there was no real understanding of PTSD of which many POW (especially those who were imprisoned in the Far East and worked on the Burma Thailand Railway) suffered. On average, they were only expected to live a further 15 years because of the severity of their wounds and the maltreatment that went on for such an extended period of time. Those that lived beyond this were not considered 'lucky'. Most of the men who returned from war never again connected with their families because they were so changed and nothing of their experiences was ever discussed. Because Summers used secondhand accounts from the wives, daughters, and granddaughters coupled with primary written sources this is a unique perspective on a much discussed topic. 8/10

 

 

What's Up Next: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-11-17 02:56
WWII History Part 3 of 4
When The Children Came Home: Stories Of Wartime Evacuees - Julie Summers

By the time I got to this book I was starting to get a bit fatigued with the topic of WWII but once I got truly stuck into this book and discovered just how much I didn't know on the topic...I was hooked. Children were evacuated to the countryside during WWII (this much I knew before) but I learned that they were also sent to America, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Parents weren't especially picky as long as they were away from London. This book is chock full of recollections which recall the 'waves' of children which would leave suddenly only to be called home again especially during the Phoney War when the prejudice against 'townies' coupled with the desire to see their children again prompted parents to yank their kids back to the city. Understandably, the uncertainty of the situation created a lot of anxiety among children and adults alike. The psychological trauma of abandonment had a lifelong effect on most of the children which manifested itself in a variety of ways. Some children never reconnected with their biological family while others felt their foster family was their 'true' family (some were eventually adopted and stayed in their new homes). I had never really given much thought on the intricacies of the evacuation scheme and what kind of result it had on the children and their families so this was an eye-opening reading experience. 9/10 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-11-17 02:53
WWII History Part 2 of 4
Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War - Julie Summers

While I enjoyed reading all of Summers' books, Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War was my favorite of the lot. This volume was specifically about the role that the Women's Institute (WI) performed on both the national and county levels. These women played hosts to evacuees, took over the role of primary household manager, assumed the responsibility for the nation's food production, and so much more. Not only was the WI important during the war for the nation but even more so for women who made up its membership. The main goal of the WI was to provide a space for women to socialize (there's real value in this) and educate themselves on everything from how to preserve food and stretch out their meager rations to animal husbandry. (Many local chapters kept farm animals which they then sold to raise funds for war work.) I knew that they were a social group but I had no idea just how large of a role that they played. This just reinforced how amazing women truly are. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-11-17 02:49
WWII History Part 1 of 4
Our Uninvited Guests: The Secret Life of Britain's Country Houses 1939-45 - Julie Summers

This book explores the history and uses of the country estates that were requisitioned by the British government for use during World War II. These uses ranged from training facilities for spies, invalid homes for injured servicemen, hospitals for pregnant women, and boarding facilities for children evacuated from London. Not only does it delve into the minutia of what the houses were used for but also what kinds of changes occurred to them (the houses that is). For some, they were never again used by their original owners. For others, the buildings much like the people themselves, were forever changed (or completely destroyed). The only thing missing from this book was an annotated bibliography (you know how much I love those) even though it is clear that Summers did her research. 8/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-27 03:25
Boarding school satire
Molesworth - Geoffrey Willans,Ronald Searle

The Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (co-creator and illustrator) had been on my TRL for ages. I was intrigued by the illustrations that were depicted on the cover and its comparison to my dear Roald Dahl. This is a classic children's series (bound together in its entirety here) about a boy named Nigel Molesworth who narrates his time in a boy's boarding school called St. Custard's. Willans captures the spirit of boyhood in a private boarding school especially well owing to his being a Headmaster himself. (This is even funnier once you get to know Headmaster Grimes who is particularly fond of the cane.) This book is replete with bad spelling (evidenced in the title) and absolutely stunning illustrations by Searle who was a satirical cartoonist (perfect for this series). Molesworth and his buddies get up to many hi-jinks and shenanigans which are generally instigated by our hero. Amidst all of this tomfoolery Willans and Searle have taken jabs at the inequalities of the classes by showcasing the Head Boy Grabber as only being placed in such a prestigious position because his parents shell out lots of money. (The Headmaster is greedy and generally does all he can to cut corners most notably with the selection of food offered to the students.) If you can get used to the bad spelling, grammatical errors, made-up slang, and seemingly arbitrary abbreviations for everything you will see why this has held up as a true children's classic. It's witty, cutting in its bluntness, and in general everything I hoped it would be. 10/10

 

Source: Amazon.co.uk

 

I wanted to give a little taste for the delights that await you.

 

What's Up Next: Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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