Blitz Spirit: Voices of Britain Living Through Crises, 1939-1945 by Becky Brown #BookReview #HodderandStoughton #NetGalley #4*

Throughout the Second World War hundreds of people kept diaries of their private daily lives as part of a groundbreaking national experiment.

They were warehousemen and WRENs, soldiers and farmhands, housewives and journalists, united only by a desire to record the history they were living through.

For decades their words have been held in the Mass-Observation Archive, a time capsule of ordinary voices that might otherwise have been forgotten. These voices tell the human story behind the iconic events of those six years, of the individuals grappling with a world turned upside down. From panic-buying and competitively digging for victory to extraordinary acts of bravery, Blitz Spirit is a remarkable collection of real wartime experiences that represent the best and worst of human nature in the face of adversity.

Resonant, darkly funny and deeply moving, this new collection will reveal what it was like to live through a crisis of unprecedented proportions.

A cacophony of hope, cynicism and resilience, Blitz Spirit celebrates ordinary lives – however small – and shines a light on the people we were, and the people we are now.

Meaningful & Engrossing!

This is such an interesting read; it shows the realities of war for those on the home front with the removal of any rose-tinted spectacles!

During the second world war, a cross-section of the British people kept diaries of how it affected them personally – their thoughts and opinions as part of what was referred to as Mass Observation. Now author Becky Brown has accessed these, taking excerpts from many different diaries and creating this mesmerising book.

I don’t often read non-fiction but I have a real interest in domestic fiction during WWII so this one really appealed to me. The ideal which is trotted out publicly is that ‘we were all in it together’ – but were we? Did rationing ensure that the poor got equal food to the more well-off? How did the woman in the street cope with the daily hardships foisted upon her? These are personal thoughts of many members of the public and it’s full of revelations. Organised chronologically, these comments take us right through from just before war was declared to just after peace was announced. Gripping reading, and it’s certainly taken the shine off a lot of the propaganda for me. Informative, meaningful, and one which kept me engrossed until the final page. Recommended to everyone who is fascinated by WWII, and well worth four stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: historical non-fiction, WWII

Author Bio

Becky Brown is an anthologist, editor and literary agent. Her eclectic work centres around a fascination with forgotten voices and hidden stories. She lives between Glasgow and London.

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