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The Blitz : The British Under Attack by Juliet Gardiner

The Blitz : The British Under Attack

Biography / Autobiography   History   The Real World   
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The aim of the German bombing raids on this country was to bomb us into submission, instead they strengthened hatred and resolve. And in Juliet Gardiner’s absorbing and meticulous history of the Blitz we see this resolve growing and in this account, like no other I’ve read, alongside records of the human devastation, the author gives prominence to the destruction of buildings and the irreplaceable cultural losses suffered. Indeed reading the book, one feels a growing anger, anger at what has been lost and anger at what has so often replaced it. An involving account, a masterly weaving together of stories, concentrating not just on London, Juliet Gardiner surveys the extent of the Blitz throughout the country. My final words of praise must go to the author’s balanced view, highlighting not just the heroes but also the failures, the cowards and the incompetents, making this one of the most fully rounded pictures of the Blitz I’ve yet read.

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The Blitz : The British Under Attack by Juliet Gardiner

From the author of 'Wartime' comes an outstanding history of the most sustained onslaught ever endured by Britain's civilian population -- the Blitz. September 1940 marked the beginning of Nazi Germany's aerial attack on civilian Britain. Lasting eight months, the Blitz was the form of warfare that had been predicted throughout the 1930s, and that the British people had feared since Neville Chamberlain's declaration that Britain was at war. Images of Britain's devastated cities are among the most iconic of the Second World War. Yet compared with other great moments of that war -- Dunkirk, the North African campaign, D-Day -- the Blitz remains curiously unexamined. Apart from fragmentary accounts and local records, there is little in the way of a comprehensive account of the experience that so many British civilians went through -- as well as the social, political and cultural implications of the bombardment. Designed to break the morale of the British population, the nightly bombings certainly did devastate. But, as Juliet Gardiner shows in this hugely important book, they also served to galvanise the nation; from those terrifying eight months, a new determination amongst people and politicians steadily emerged. Revealing, original and beautifully written, 'The Blitz' is a much-needed exploration of one of the most important moments in Second World War history.


'Enthralling!Gardiner has ranged deep and wide in the archives!her book gives us a balances picture of Britain, nationwide, throughout those wearying months. Page after page of her intensely humane prose bring tears, anger, horror, disgust and utter admiration in equal measure!an absorbing and truly impressive account of Hitler's second strategic defeat.'
The Times

'Throughout the book, Gardiner makes highly effective use of the words of those who lived through the Blitz!the material [she] marshals so well underlines the stubborn powers of endurance and the genuine sense of community that the Blitz did indeed engender.It was one of the defining moments in modern British history and it wasn't only our cityscapes that were reconfigured by the German bombing. Gardiner shoes how it changed people as well.'
Sunday Times

'Thoughtful and considered!Through numerous first-hand accounts [Gardiner] shines the spotlight on the day-to-day realities of living under attack!It is surprising how much fascinating new material this book unearths. It is a treasure trove of vivid, detailed anecdotes, revealing many hitherto overlooked aspects of life in wartime Britain.'

Reviews for 'The Thirties'

'Hugely impressive!For the depth of its research, the quality of the writing and the sheer richness and vibrancy of the material, this is a quite outstanding work of social history. From architecture to the abdication, from zeppelins to zoos, it is comfortably the definitive account of a decade that has been much maligned'
Daily Telegraph

'Excellent!she has mastered a vast number of written sources, and the resulting synthesis is also a work of graceful, eloquent historical imagination!.all the peaks are covered with calm competence, but it is in the bypaths she takes that THE THIRTIES excels!.memorable!..the cinematic clarity of Gardiner's descriptions!make her book captivating'
Sunday Times

'Enthralling!THE THIRTIES weaves an eclectic and exciting story!.Gardiner has an almost cinematic sense of detail!.The greatest tribute to Gardiner's book is that it doesn't read as history, more a vibrant, nuanced narrative of the lives lived by our immediate predecessors'
The Times

About the Author

Juliet Gardiner

Juliet Gardiner was our Guest Editor in October 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

Juliet Gardiner is a historian and author. She was editor of History Today, a publisher and academic and since 2001 a full time writer, lecturer and broadcaster both on radio and television. Her most recent books include The 1940s House;The Edwardian Country House; The Penguin Dictionary of British History(ed.); Wartime: Britain 1939-1945; The Thirties:an intimate history; The Blitz: the British under attack. She was the historical consultant on the film version of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement and for the forthcoming BBC series Upstairs Downstairs and The High Street.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st March 2011


Juliet Gardiner

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HarperPress an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


352 pages


Biography / Autobiography
The Real World

Social & cultural history
Second World War

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



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