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Wartime Britain 1939-1945
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Wartime Britain 1939-1945

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Juliet Gardiner's critically acclaimed book - the first in a generation to tell the people's story of the Second World War - offers a compelling and comprehensive account of the pervasiveness of war on the Home Front. The book has been commended for its inclusion of many under-described aspects of the Home Front, and alongside familiar stories of food shortages, evacuation ...more
Paperback, 782 pages
Published October 3rd 2005 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 2004)
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Mar 22, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it
This is a history of the Second World War, not of the campaigns and the battles, but of the Home Front. Each chapter deals with a different theme - evacuation, rationing, the Blitz, crime, women in the workplace, air raid shelters, propaganda, the media, the Home Guard etc. It's very well-written, very readable and includes a great deal of quotes and anecdotes from diaries, letters, interviews and surveys from the time. It really makes you realise what hell people went through, and how the Home ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Juliet Gardiner's Wartime is a superb social history of Britain's "Home Front" experience in the Second World War. Drawing both upon the abundant literature about the war and Mass-Observation diaries kept by contemporaries, she gives readers a real sense of what the war was like for the people of Britain. By far the best book about the subject, it is essential reading for anyone interested in learning about how Britons lived, survived, and died during the long conflict that continues to cast its ...more
Jan 29, 2009 Jane rated it it was amazing
A terrific read that really broadened my knowledge of wartime culture, the extent of the bombings in cities outside London (why bomb Hastings?) as well as the privations and hardships suffered by the English. Excellent use of primary sources by Gardiner, using diaries and accounts of women who knew firsthand how little you could get with your clothing ration coupons. A fascinating read.
Jul 27, 2010 Bluenose rated it really liked it
This big book (692 pages) focuses on life in Britain during the war – a fairly straightforward subject it would seem but how to distill official, contemporary and personal accounts of a fast moving, supremely disruptive time? Gardner does it by gathering her facts under headings of crucial points in time and categories of experience using a formidable array of sources. The reader feels the terror of the blitz and the grinding want of wartime existence.

Wartime is not a history of the war, not ev
Dec 30, 2015 Margaret rated it it was amazing
It's quite a challenge to pick up this book with the intention to read it cover to cover - all 700 or so pages of it. I'm so glad I have. This is a book that fleshes out in considerable detail the knowledge that most of us have - or think we have - of life on the Home Front in WWII. Though scholarly, it's intensely readable, and each chapter is crammed with nuggets of fascinating information, whether it's about evacuees, the unremitting horrors of the Blitz, coping with rationing, wartime crime. ...more
Florence Millo
Nov 06, 2014 Florence Millo rated it it was amazing
This book is the best I have ever read about the British Home Front during the Second World War. A must read for anyone interested in this subject.
Feb 06, 2010 Alexa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I had been looking for a book like this for years now. I've been a WWII buff of sorts for decades, and thought I knew all about the homefront lifestyle - this book has proven me wrong! It literally covers every aspect of civilian life in the UK (particularly London) from start to finish.

I would love even more to find work like this that describes German civilian life during the war. If you're reading this review and you know of a comparable piece, please leave a reply!

As an aside, I noticed in
Jul 29, 2013 Tobias rated it really liked it
Truly superb account of life on the home front in wartime Britain, especially when it came to socioeconomic changes wrought by mobilization and strategic bombing. The one thing I would have liked to read more about was how the country was governed during the war, considering that the general election of 1945 was the first in ten years. I realize of course that when covering a topic as multi-faceted as a country at war, it's impossible to cover anything, but given how the war was framed as a figh ...more
Barbara Mader
Feb 09, 2012 Barbara Mader rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii
Lots of information on a variety of subjects, and quite thorough. Covers all of Great Britain. Pretty good job of filling in historical and political backstory (e.g. North and South Ireland) without shifting the focus too much. I longed for maps in the book and did refer to my WWII atlas quite a bit. Sometimes there is a bit too much detail to keep the narrative flow going smoothly, but I appreciate being able to refer back to the detail . . . so I can't begrudge that. It's quite comprehensive. ...more
May 31, 2013 Tracyk rated it it was amazing
This is a readable and thorough history of this time in Britain. I gave it five stars because it is so comprehensive. As a reading experience for me, it took a long time because it was so detailed, at times more than I was interested in. But as a resource for research, or just to broaden one's knowledge of the time and the country, it is excellent.
The Library Lady
Mar 05, 2015 The Library Lady rated it liked it
While this is better written than most adult non-fiction, and impressively researched, it still has the sort of writing that makes me skim read. A good deal of the economic sections made my eyes glaze over. I would have loved to have been able to read just the selections about everyday life and times--it's fascinating stuff, and the part of the book that kept me plowing along.
Stephen Selbst
Jan 28, 2016 Stephen Selbst rated it really liked it
An excellent history of domestic life in Great Britain during World War II. Organized by subjects, the book does an excellent job of conveying how the civilian population coped with the war's dangers, disruptions and privations.
Mar 14, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
One of those non-fiction books which consists of fascinating items of information strung together with mostly workmanlike but occasionally frankly appalling sentences. (I'm being picky. It was well organised and made excellent use of primary sources. But her PROSE.)
Betty Adams
Jan 18, 2015 Betty Adams rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Paxton
Feb 06, 2014 Susan Paxton rated it it was amazing
Definitely the most interesting book I have read in some time, Gardiner covers a vast sweep of wartime experience in Britain, good and bad. Her selection of personal stories is excellent, and she has a good eye for telling detail. Necessary reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Nov 19, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
Książka o Wielkiej Brytanii w czasie wojny. O kartkach na jedzenie, o ewakuacji dzieci na wieś z m. in. Londynu.
Jean Taylor
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