11pm, Tuesday 4 August 1914: with the declaration of war London becomes one of the greatest killing machines in human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers pass through the capital on their way to the front; wounded men are brought back to be treated in London's hospitals; and millions of shells are produced in its factories. The war changes London life for ever. Women escape the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment puts money into the pockets of the London poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment and licentious behaviour. As the war drags on, gloom often descends on the capital. And at night London is plunged into darkness for fear of German bombers and Zeppelins that continue to raid the city. Yet despite daily casualty lists, food shortages and enemy bombing, Londoners are determined to get on with their lives and flock to cinemas and theatres, dance halls and shebeens, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White's magnificent panorama reveals a struggling yet flourishing city.
As collective hysteria gave way to a war-weary determination to see it through to the end, bombs began to fall on London and the southeast. But this wasn’t 1940; it was 1915. White looks at life in London through the dark years of the First World War, examining what life was like for its residents, looking at the scares and shortages, the hopes and fears, and the bombings. The Germans sent zeppelins and Gotha bombers to bring the war home to the population of London, and the first aerial battles this country witnessed were fought out in the skies over the capital. White presents a meticulous record of the campaign and details the population’s response.
'Zeppelin Nights is social history at its best... White creates a vivid picture of a city changed for ever by war'-- Robbie Millen The Times
'Jerry White's name on a title page is a guarantee of a lively, compassionate book full of striking incidents and memorable images... This is a fast-paced social history that never stumbles... A well-orchestrated polyphony of voices that brings history alive' -- Richard Davenport-Hines Guardian
'White delivers in brilliant time-eclipsing detail an evolving and often deeply moving portrait of a city that became gradually squeezed to its limits' -- Juliet Nicolson Sunday Telegraph
Publication date: 05/02/2015
Publication date: 01/05/2014
Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||5th February 2015|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, History,|
|Categories:||Social & cultural history, First World War, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Professor Jerry White teaches London history at Birkbeck, University of London. His acclaimed trilogy on London, from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, is an unparalleled narrative of the capital, and London in the Twentieth Century: A City and Its People won the Wolfson History Prize in 2001. His most recent book was London in Eighteenth Century, first published in 2012. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the University of London in 2005 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.More About Jerry White