Carolynne's Reviews > Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49

Nella Last's War by Nella Last
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's review
Mar 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, biography, world-war-ii
Read from March 09 to April 19, 2010

Nella Last contributed prolifically to the "Mass Observation" project in Britain during World War II, with diary entries several times a week during that period. They chronicle her work as an assistant in a Canteen and a Red Cross Shop, as well as the Women's Centre, her home life, her relationship with her family and neighbors in the town of Barrow-in-Furness, near Coniston Lake in the North of England. Barrow was bombed during the German air raids, so we hear about the stuffy blackout curtains and the makeshift shelters that people managed to cram into their home (in the absence of the huge underground complex in London, with which most of picture when contemplating what England's residents did during the bombings). She is honest, not just about her feelings about the War, including some not entirely favorable opinions about Americans, but also painfully frank about her sons and her husband, Will. This amazing book is an excellent way to gain a detailed firsthand account of the war that fewer and fewer people remember, and I think could be used either in a history or English classroom. There is a sequel, _Nella Last's Peace_, which I have not read. Compare to _Mrs. Miniver_, which has a somewhat whitewashed view of the war.

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