Linda's Reviews > The Great Silence

The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson
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Jun 27, 10

Read from June 26 to 27, 2010

Nicolson's last book looked at "The Perfect Summer" in England in 1911 just before WWI. "The Great Silence" looks at life in Britain in the first years immediately after the war when most of the country seems to be coping with life by not talking about the war or mentioning those who didn't come home. She looks in particular at the moment of silence that has been observed annually since 11/11/1919 (noting only Americans were too busy to stop) and the unveiling of the Cenotaph along with the interment of the Unknown Solider on 11/11/1920. It's the period between the "falling silent of the guns and the roaring of the 1920."

But what makes this such a fascinating read is that Nicolson weaves together hundreds of stories and statistics into a complex tapestry whose strands never become tangled. The cast includes everyone from the Royal family to Vera Brittain, from the doctor who virtually invented plastic surgery to Nellie Melba, from T.E. Lawrence to the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. What is noteworthy is that there are so many women in NIcolson's tale — war widows, the first woman MP, university graduates, war workers and domestics — all make numerous appearances.






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