We are at War

We are at War : The Diaries of Five Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times

By (author) Simon Garfield

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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.

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  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 30mm | 258.55g
  • 13 Oct 2009
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Ebury Press
  • London
  • English
  • New edition
  • Illustrations facsims., ports.
  • 0091903874
  • 9780091903879
  • 165,749

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Author Information

Simon Garfield is an award-winning feature writer on the Observer and author of two previous books of oral history, both highly acclaimed. His study of Aids in Britain, The End of Innocence, was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and the bestselling Mauve was described by the Daily Telegraph as 'a book about science which also happens to be a miniature work of art'. His most recent work, The Last Journey of William Huskisson, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week.

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Review quote

"'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"

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