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The People's War: Britain, 1939-45 by Angus Calder

The People's War: Britain, 1939-45

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October 2010 Guest Editor Juliet Gardiner on The People's War...

Although Angus Calder’s The People’s War was published in 1969, it remains a magisterial work, an eminently readable and moving account of Britain’s Home Front that advances the view that the post war welfare state was the just entitlement for those who had ‘taken it’ during the Second World War.


The People's War: Britain, 1939-45 by Angus Calder

The 1939-45 conflict was, for Britain, a total war ; no section of society remained untouched by military conscription, air raids, the shipping crisis and the war economy. This book not only states the great events and the leading figures, but also the oddities and the banalities of daily life, and in particular the parts played by ordinary people: air raid wardens and Home Guards, factory workers and farmers, housewives and pacifists. Above all, the book reveals how, in those six years, the British people came closer to discarding their social conventions than at any time since Cromwell's republic.

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'Startlingly original when it first came out in 1969, this book has now become a classic. It gives a detailed, lively, humorous account of the British Home Front in the world war against Nazi Germany. Historians have accepted its conclusions; it is simple, clear and complete, the best sort of social history.' (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Angus Calder
Angus Calder was an academic, writer, historian, educator and literary editor, and Reader in Cultural Studies and Staff Tutor in Arts with the Open University in Scotland. He read English at Cambridge and received his D. Phil from the School of Social Studies at the University of Sussex. He was Convener of the Scottish Poetry Library when it was founded in 1984. In 1970 he won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for his seminal work, The People's War. His other books include Revolutionary Empire and The Myth of the Blitz. He died in 2008.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th June 1992


Angus Calder

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Pimlico an imprint of CCV


672 pages


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Social & cultural history
Second World War



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