Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife 49'

Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife 49'


Edited by Richard Broad, Edited by Suzie Fleming

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 192mm x 28mm | 280g
  • Publication date: 1 January 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 184668000X
  • ISBN 13: 9781846680007
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 14,857

Product description

In September 1939, housewife and mother Nella Last began a diary whose entries, in their regularity, length and quality, have created a record of the Second World War which is powerful, fascinating and unique. When war broke out, Nella's younger son joined the army while the rest of the family tried to adapt to civilian life. Writing each day for the "Mass Observation" project, Nella, a middle-aged housewife from the bombed town of Barrow, shows what people really felt during this time. This was the period in which she turned 50, saw her children leave home, and reviewed her life and her marriage - which she eventually compares to slavery. Her growing confidence as a result of her war work makes this a moving (though often comic) testimony, which, covering sex, death and fear of invasion, provides a new, unglamorised, female perspective on the war years.'Next to being a mother, I'd have loved to write books.' Oct 8, 1939

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Author information

Suzie Fleming is a feminist writer and speaker; she lives in Cornwall.

Review quote

I adored [it.]. An extraordinary glimpse into the heart of an 'ordinary' woman, Nella Last's day-to-day account of her war is spirited, poignant and utterly compelling. Lucy Moore A classic of wartime literature...highly engaging, very moving. All Home Front life is here, especially the kitchen sink Simon Garfield I relished it...her personality is so powerful...There are so many things to admire about her. Margaret Forster A fantastic story...This is not the war of the newsreels - it's about tiny domestic difficulties, lumpy custard... Victoria Wood