Book Reviews: Wartime - Britain 1939-1945 by Juliet Gardiner, Headline, Pounds 20

Article excerpt

Byline: Reviewed by Anthony Looch

In May 1940, with Hitler posing the greatest threat to Britain since Napoleon, the country's new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, admitted to the nation that he could only offer a regime of 'blood, toil, tears and sweat'. With hindsight, one could add many other things to the list, including heartbreak, fear, personal discomfort, severe food shortages, the possible bombing of one's home and the curtailment of civil liberties.

Juliet Gardiner has written an excellent social history about life on Britain's home front during the Second World War. She demolishes a few myths and throws new light on measures such as the evacuation of children, the blackout, rationing, internment of enemy aliens, and how the nation coped with the devastating German air raids.

Inevitably these concentrated on London, first with the 'Blitz' from September 1940 to May 1941, then occasional smaller raids until the mini-Blitz in early 1944. …