Private Battles: Our Intimate Diaries - How the War Almost Defeated Us

Private Battles: Our Intimate Diaries - How the War Almost Defeated Us


By (author) Simon Garfield

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  • Publisher: Ebury Press
  • Format: Hardback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 236mm x 52mm | 839g
  • Publication date: 24 October 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0091910765
  • ISBN 13: 9780091910761
  • Sales rank: 1,110,835

Product description

Hundreds of books have been published on the Second World War, yet rarely do we read anything new. Now, in "Private Battles" - as we follow four ordinary young people telling the story of how we barely survived the war - we have one of the most refreshing and original takes on the period ever published. The challenges and struggles of the writers' own small battles give a startlingly immediate impression of what life was really like. Readers of "Our Hidden Lives" and "We Are At War" will be familiar with two of the diarists: Maggie Joy Blunt, the perceptive but frustrated young writer living alone near Slough, and Pam Ashford, the shipping clerk in Glasgow writing of office life as if it were an episode of "The Archers", even when she starts working for the Americans. The two new diarists are equally engrossing: Edward Stebbing, a 20-year-old discharged soldier living with a stern landlady in Essex; and Larry du Parc, a research chemist from Hertfordshire, father of two children and proposer of several unique scientific ways to beat the Nazis. "Private Battles" turns much of the traditional view of Britain's war effort on its head. Churchill does not emerge as the universally popular wartime figure; the country is not a fit and streamlined unit ready to fend off any foe, but an exhausted, divided and ailing one; and while there are many examples of a Dunkirk spirit, there are just as many of spiteful behaviour and selfishness.

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Author information

Simon Garfield is an award-winning feature writer on the Observer, and the author of eight books, including Mauve, The Wrestling, The Nation's Favourite and The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS. Our Hidden Lives, his first collection of Mass Observation diaries, became a Sunday Times bestseller and BBC drama starring Richard Briers and Sarah Parrish.