The diaries of five people during the Second World War, an unmarried secretary, a mother with evacuated children, a social worker, a salesman and a writer. It illustrates the very human side and in many ways a very ordinary side of an extraordinary period as they live their lives but reflect on times. A memorable and highly absorbing work.
Of all the accounts written about the Second World War, none are more compelling than the personal diaries of those who lived through it. We Are At War is the story of five everyday folk, who, living on the brink of chaos, recorded privately on paper their most intimate hopes and fears. Pam Ashford, a woman who keeps her head when all around are losing theirs, writes with comic genius about life in her Glasgow shipping office. Christopher Tomlin, a writing-paper salesman for whom business is booming, longs to be called up like his brother. Eileen Potter organises evacuations for flea-ridden children, while mother-of-three Tilly Rice is frustrated to be sent to Cornwall. And Maggie Joy Blunt tries day-by-day to keep a semblance of her ordinary life. Entering their world as they lived it, each diary entry is poignantly engrossing. Amid the tumultuous start to the war, these ordinary British people are by turns apprehensive and despairing, spirited and cheerful - and always fascinatingly, vividly real.
'Snowdrops have been in flower for weeks. Violets are still waiting to bloom. Broad beans are showing their heads perkily. But I forget. We are at war. The boys in the village are leaving one by one.'
Maggie Joy Blunt
'A lovely book. It will appeal to anyone who appreciates the richness and diversity of human experience' - Tony Benn
'I haven't read a more engrossing book in years' - John Carey, Sunday Times
'A quite magical store of voices from another age' - Observer
Publication date: 02/03/2006
Publisher: Ebury Press
|Publication date:||2nd March 2006|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
|Categories:||Biography: historical, political & military, Second World War,|
Simon Garfield was our Guest Editor in October 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing. Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including On the Map, Just My Type and The Wrestling. His edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive, Our Hidden Lives, We Are At War and Private Battles, were bestsellers, and his study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. He lives in London and St Ives, Cornwall. Author photo © Sarah LeeMore About Simon Garfield