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Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949
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Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Viking (first published 2011)
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Millions Like Us by Virginia NicholsonThe Mitford Girls by Mary S. LovellPrague Winter by Madeleine AlbrightIn My Hands by Irene Gut OpdykeThe Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
Women In World War II---Non-Fiction
1st out of 76 books — 9 voters
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World War II England
73rd out of 103 books — 111 voters

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Community Reviews

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I saw this reviewed in the Guardian Weekly and knew immediately I wanted to read it; I was not disappointed.

This is a book that can never be written again as it is based on in-depth interviews with some 50 women who lived through WW 2 and its aftermath, chronicling their heroically ordinary lives, fears and thoughts over more than 10 years. For some it appeared to be the only time they had been able to talk honestly about their experiences. Virginia Nicholson’s women weren’t chosen randomly – t
Michael Moseley
This was a fascinating book about the way lives of British women were transformed during the Second World War. Left behind to run every think from families to bomb products and making aircraft. Britain could not have done what she did without the use of millions of women while their men did the fighting. They were involved in many roles from administration through to heavy industry and even gunnery in anti aircraft guns. This very sympathetically and well written account of different women’s liv ...more
A rather sobering story about the women in Britain during the second world war - with examples from many different women, through their diaries, biographies and interviews with them now, women from all parts of society and all parts of the country. Their experiences (both similar and different) give a vivid picture of some really hard and trying times. It's not dramatic as war time stories usually are, because their lives were seldom at the front, their lot was to make the everyday life work, an ...more

Why do more people not know about this book? It's truly amazing. I don't read very much nonfiction, but this book makes me want to read more. It is shocking, heartbreaking, funny, tragic, uplifting, terrifying, and fascinating. Nicholson brings together dozens of individual lives--so different, but all with one glaring thing in common: They were the women of World War II.

They were factory workers, nurses, housewives, code-breakers, "clippies," ambulance drivers, mothers, singers
Girl with her Head in a Book
In my final term at university, I studied a module on 1940s Film and Literature and basically I fell in love with a whole different time period. You may or may not have noticed that I love history on a completely amateur basis. For me, this is the best way, I seriously considered studying it at university but decided not to, this way I don't have to do the research, I just read the books so I still get the stories. For me, history at its best is a collection of well-written stories and in this r ...more
Mary Margaret
I found this a fascinating window into women's lives in WWII.

The author follows many women, from a wide variety of social classes, occupations, and backgrounds through the war, including the introduction of female conscription. I found it hard to keep track of all the women, and so didn't feel much connection to many, but the overall picture, of the changes demanded of women and how that did (and didn't) change society as a whole, as well as what changed back after the war, were very interestin
This book was an excellently written and enjoyable study of the period. I couldn't put it down.
I recommend it to anyone interested in women's lives, British history and/or the Second World War.

I must say, however, that I found it regrettable that the book completely ignored lesbians. For such a thorough and well-researched book about women of all ages, walks of life and regions -- a book that put great emphasis on their love and sex lives -- it was a shame that the only mention was of one woman
Wendy Percival
A brilliantly, meticulously researched book and a pleasure to read. Such a range of experiences from women in all walks of life and in a variety of situations - hospitals, Bletchley, factories, farms, town, city, countryside. Amusing, distressing, frightening and uplifting stories in the words of the women who lived them. For anyone who wants to get an incite into those who lived through the Second World War off the battlefield, then I can highly recommend Millions Like Us. I look forward to rea ...more
The Library Lady
Drawn from countless first person narratives (many of which I'd like to read in their entirety), this is very readable, and just plain fascinating. Sadly, I don't think it's in print in the US, and I ended up buying a copy from England via Amazon.

I loved this book. I am really interested in the social history side of the second world war, especially regarding the changes to the lives of women. This book has a great collection of diary extracts and stories from a wide range of women from housewives to Wrens. It does jump between characters but I did not find that a problem as I liked the fact that you got to find out what different women with different roles were doing at the same point in time.
Radio 4 "Book of the Week" May 2-6, 2011
2.5 stars; probably works better as a physical book where you can flip pages back. The abridgment gave me plenty of good bits of stories and a general sense of the attitudes of the time, but I was never able to keep track of who was who or if it was even important. I had a near identical experience with another BBC reading from this same author.
Barbara Mader
The recollections and reflections of a number British women during World War II, from various social classes and working in a variety of jobs--military, industrial, agricultural, forestry, marine, infrastructure, transport, etc. These material was wonderfully managed by Nicholson, who neatly incorporates individual experiences with the broader view.
Very sobering and in-depth look at the experiences of all sorts of seemingly ordinary women during a war that challenged british strength and pysche. Based on the mass observation findings, diaries, interviews and other original sources "Millions Like Us" weaves their stories chronologically throughout the Second World War.
Fascinating - a look at how the lives and expectations of women were turned upside down by the second world war. A particularly interesting read in conjunction with another book by Nicolson - Singled Out which complements this nicely being about how the "excess" women after WWI carved careers and influenced society
Jane Macmullen
Now I've got past the introduction, I can't put this book down, it's really informative and written in a very accessible way. Highly recommended if you're interested in the social history side of WW2.
I took a while to get into the form of jumping quickly between different characters - then next thing I knew, I was crying on the bus reading about a nurse in the Blitz.
Really enjoyable, documenting all types of women with many different roles during the world. Brilliant to have a book about the war solely from a female perspective.
Jul 14, 2011 Celine marked it as to-read
Attracted to this by a wonderful review at thingsmeanalot.
Fantastic!! Highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It really made me start to consider things that i had never given any thought too.
Amazing book. Absolutely recommend it.
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VIRGINIA NICHOLSON was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1955. Her father was the art historian and writer Quentin Bell, acclaimed for his biography of his aunt Virginia Woolf. Her mother Anne Olivier Bell edited the five volumes of Virginia Woolf’s Diaries.

Virginia grew up in the suburbs of Leeds, but the family moved to Sussex when she was in her teens. She was educated at Lewes Priory School (Comp
More about Virginia Nicholson...
Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War Just The Job: The Employment And Training Of Young School Leavers: A Summary Report

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