Readnponder's Reviews > The Report

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane
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Oct 05, 2010

really liked it
Read from September 15 to 29, 2010

This is a fictionalized supposal of what might have occurred during England's worst civilian disaster of WWII. The London subways were used as bomb shelters during the war. One night in March 1943, about 170 were killed in a crush to enter the shelter. Ironically, no bombs fell that night. There was a backup of people rushing to enter the shelter, some stumbled on the stairs in the dark and many were crushed or suffocated in the resulting pile of bodies.

Magistrate Lawrence Dunne is charged with investigating the incident and writing a report. The deaths really happened, and Magistrate Dunne really wrote a report, which was sealed for national security reasons. The rest is fiction.

The story is told in two time periods: (1) in 1943 as Dunne conducts his investigation--questioning witnesses, visiting the scene of the accident, and (2)30 years later as a TV documentary writer interviews Dunne about the event.

I won't give away anymore of the plot. I appreciated the perspective this book afforded on a part of WWII I had not encountered before, namely, what life was like in the subway shelters. Regulars had assigned bunks and could leave bedding and personal belongings behind in the morning. There was a lending library in the shelter, a nursery and infirmary. The subways became organized, albeit cramped, underground communities.

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