Eileen's Reviews > 1939: The Last Season

1939 by Anne de Courcy
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's review
Oct 14, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: britlit, war
Read in October, 2007

Some dude hit on me while I was reading this book, caught sight of the cover, and said something along the lines of "oh, that looks like a wedding dress...not for me." Interesting view of social history (or projection!); how common do you think this view still is?

This book straddles the political, social, and societal history of Britain immediately before WWII. It's a big order to smash into a small space. The transitions and relationships of one event to another don't always work as well as they could. However, it's also fairly minute.

I think this book is aimed more toward a British reader than a American, which is pretty normal considering I don't think it's even been published in the US. It made it slightly difficult for me to follow all the tiny details, though. It also made it difficult to tell which details were important. I don't know who Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill was or why her ball was a big deal, I only know that the author tells me it was a big deal. Was it? Why is it mentioned above the other billion balls that happened in the season? Why bother talking about a specific Eton-Harrow match as opposed to the entire sports season and the overall attitude toward sports in the face of a clear impending war? I feel like the focus is hard to find, and I'm not convinced that these specific cultural details are the most valuable ones to communicate.

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