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Boy in the Blitz: The 1940 Diary of Colin Perry Paperback – 7 Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press Ltd; New Ed edition (7 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075092604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750926041
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 803,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gives a first-hand account of life in London during the blitz in 1940. As such it is a valuable document as it does convey the intensity of the experience. It is the diary of Colin Perry who was a teenager at the time, living and working in London. It is written with the idealism and optimism of youth and as such gives an interesting perspective on historic events. As we move further and further from World War 2, books such as these become invaluable in giving the reader a real insight into what it was like to live in a city under constant bombardment. The book has a good balance of personal detail, mixed with detail of matters of national interest. My main complaint is that the book left me wanting to know the rest of the author's story. Perry fills his 1940 diary with his plans and hopes for the future, particularly his hope for a wife and children and I would have loved to have read a sequel which told what happened to these dreams. Well worth reading, in fact once started it is hard to put down!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicodemus on 22 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up by accident and had a quick flip through. I decided to buy it and read it straight through.

Colin Perry wrote a diary which starts on 17th June 1940 and covers the beginning of the Luftwaffe attacks on London. The words are simple, matter of fact and show the perspective of an eighteen year old on those times. He recalls a time which perhaps some of our older readers may remember. London in the Blitz comes alive. He describes his thoughts and emotions as events unfold. His diary describes him jumping on a bicycle and cycling from London to Box Hill for an afternoon, jumping in the back of a lorry on the way back from work in the city or thumbing lifts, climbing onto the roof of the flats where he lived and watching bombs falling on Croydon airfield, flashes in the distance as Putney gets bombed, doing the rounds of bomb sites the morning after raids.

The book ends on 5th November 1940 as Colin gets called up and goes into the Navy.

The book is an Imperial War Museum publication and this institution has done us all a great service by allowing us to have this insight into the past.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
A very vivid account of the two first months of the Blitz, retold from the viewpoint of a rather idealistic 18-year-old office boy. You can not get closer to the Blitz than this in the year 2011. Colin Perry was a very curious young man who did not run for shelter when the first bombs started to fall. Instead he went up on the roof to watch the "spectacle" in front of his eyes. He did not get frightened by the fact that he could die at any moment. Instead he thought the excitement was thrilling. In his diary he bicycles around to see the damage after each bomb raid and vividly describes what has happened. He never ceases to be amazed at his fellow Londoners wit and courage. He wants to read the funny comments the shop owners put up after having their shops ripped apart. He loves to see people go on as nothing is happening when the sirens sound. And he despises seeing people take shelter. He is indeed doing what the newspapers encouraged everyone to do, stay out of the shelter as long as possible, only go there if the bombing gets really bad, never when the sirens have not gone off.
In between his descriptions of being bombed, he thinks about girls that show him no interest and the disappointment of being turned down by the RAF because he has too little schooling. And meeting Churchill is the highlight of his young life.
Truly an educational read on the Blitz spirit. And it is a rather unusual diary since this young man wrote very well and was well versed in literature.
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Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a present as I am familiar with many of the areas of South London/North Surrey in which the action takes place.

It provides a very clear insight as to what it was like to live in the area during the Blitz. I was born in 1941 and recall the bomb sites that were still around as I grew up. Having heard my parents describe their experience of living through the bombardment, it was good to have a different perspective from an outsider.

As I read it, I struggled to understand the writer's perspectives on the War, his fellow citizens and the girls that he knew and hoped eventually to marry.

He was reluctant to take shelter during the bombardment and appeared to view those who sheltered with scorn. He enjoyed watching the raids. I can understand this when the raids began and were a novelty but as weeks and months progressed, his interest was maintained for much longer than one would expect. His attitudes to the girls that he knew are very idiosyncratic.

I kept asking myself whether I was being unfair judging him by the mores on the 21st century. I am not sure of the answer to this question, but am conscious that it would make a good read better still if I could find myself more in sympathy with the author of these very personal diaries.
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