The Wartime Journal of a Housewife on the Home Front
Author: Constance Miles
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Biography & Autobiography
At the outbreak of the Second World War Constance Miles was living with her husband in the pretty Surrey village of Shere. A prolific correspondent with a keen interest in current affairs, Constance kept a war journal from 1939 to 1943, recording in vivid detail what life was like for women on the Home Front. She writes of the impact of evacuees, of food shortages and the creative uses of what food there was, and the fears of the local populace, who wonder how they will cope. She tells of refugees from central Europe billeted in village houses and, later in the war, of the influx of American servicemen. She travels frequently to London, mourning the destruction of familiar landmarks and recording the devastation of the Blitz, but still finds time for tea in the Strand. A woman of strong convictions, Mrs Miles is not afraid to voice her opinion on public figures and her worries about the social upheavals she feels certain to follow the war. But most of all her journals record an overlooked aspect of the conflict: the impact on communities outside of major cities, who endured hardships we find hard to imagine today. It is a fascinating document that makes for compulsive reading.
Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of History Nancy Janovicek
Author: Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of History Nancy Janovicek
Publisher: UBC Press
Category: Social Science
In the late 1970s, feminists urged us to "rethink" Canada by placing women's experiences at the centre of historical analysis. Forty years later, women's and gender historians continue to take up the challenge, not only to interrogate the idea of nation but also to place their work in a global perspective. This volume showcases the work of scholars who draw on critical race theory, postcolonial theory, and transnational history to re-examine familiar topics such as biography and oral history, paid and unpaid work, marriage and family, and women's political action. Taken together, these exciting new essays demonstrate the continued relevance of history informed by feminist perspectives.
In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: 'Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.' And, she continued, 'Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.' For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity - and one they weren't going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. From the young woman who avoided the dreaded 'forces bloomers' by making knickers from military-issue silk maps, to Vogue's indomitable editor Audrey Withers, who balanced lobbying government on behalf of her readers with driving lorries for the war effort, Julie Summers weaves together stories from ordinary lives and high society to provide a unique picture of life during the Second World War. As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to 'make-do-and-mend'. Beautifully illustrated and full of gorgeous detail, Fashion on the Ration lifts the veil on a fascinating era in British fashion.
Groups of young evacuees, standing on railway stations with gas masks and cardboard suitcases have become an iconic image of wartime Britain, but their histories have eclipsed those of women whose domestic lives were affected. This book explores the effects of this unparalleled interference in the domestic lives of women, looking at the impact on everyday experience and on ideas of femininity, domesticity and motherhood. Maggie Andrews argues that wartime evacuation is important for understanding the experience and the contested meanings of domesticity and motherhood in the 20th century. As this book shows, evacuation represents a significant and unrecognised area of women's war work, and precipitated the rise of competing public discourses about domestic labour and motherhood.
DIV This book was inspired by the author’s discovery of an extraordinary cache of letters from a soldier who was killed on the Western Front during the First World War. The soldier was his grandfather, and the letters had been tucked away, unread and unmentioned for many decades. Intrigued by the heartbreak and history of these family letters, Fletcher sought out the correspondence of other British soldiers who had volunteered for the fight against Germany. This resulting volume offers a vivid account of the physical and emotional experiences of seventeen British soldiers whose letters survive. Drawn from different regiments, social backgrounds, and areas of England and Scotland, they include twelve officers and five ordinary “Tommies.”/div DIV /div DIV The book explores the training, journey to France, fear, shellshock, and life in the trenches as well as the leisure, love, and home leave the soldiers dreamed of. Fletcher discusses the psychological responses of 17- and 18-year-old men facing appalling realities and considers the particular pressures on those who survived their fallen comrades. While acknowledging the horror and futility the soldiers of the Great War experienced, the author shows another side to the story, focusing new attention on the loyal comradeship, robust humor, and strong morale that uplifted the men at the Front and created a powerful bond among them./div