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The Words of War British Forces Personal Letters and Diaries During the Second World War Hardcover – 27 Aug 2009

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; 1st Edition edition (27 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845965310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845965310
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,402,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Creates a strikingly immediate impression of life at war" (The Scotsman)

"Features diverse first-hand accounts from individuals who took part in the key campaigns of the conflict, providing poignant insight into the human cost of war, whilst shedding new light on this unforgettable period in history" (Britain At War)

Book Description

The drama of the Second World War is vividly recounted through rarely seen diary extracts written by members of the British forces

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Format: Hardcover
In the past few years numerous books have appeared which use first-hand accounts to tell the story of military endeavours. While this book is firmly part of that genre, it not only does the job extremely well, but the accounts themselves - culled from the archives of the Imperial War Museum - are fascinating. They would be of course- the museum has over 3,000 letters and diaries to choose from, and Marcus Cowper has selected the cream of the crop. They make compelling reading, not only because of their variety and erudition, but also as the author has set each of them in its proper historical context. This book is highly recommended - I read it over a weekend, as I just couldn't put it down.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. Having read lots about WWII from the perspective of the planners and generals behind the lines, I thought The Words of War was a real treat. Selectively quoting from the diaries of the men involved, Marcus Cowper also weaves a fine narrative by use of connecting paragraphs which provide a context for the more personal accounts. If you, like me, find Max Arthur's hastily compiled quote fests poorly put together (or even if you enjoyed them), then buy this. It moves this form of history on significantly and is also a joy to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Marcus Cowper has managed to bring to life the experiences of Britons in World War II, capturing the lone voice of the individual amidst the clamour of history. Based upon months of research at the Imperial War Museum archive, he has managed to weave together the personal diaries of well over a hundred people. The book's achievement is to draw out the personal and often highly moving experiences of his diarists, whilst simultaneously setting these voices into a wider historical context. This does not diminish them but rather makes their observations all the more compelling as we appreciate the situation they found themselves in.

This is an accessible and comprehensive record of the British experience of World War II, made all the more compelling for its honesty and immediacy. As the people who fought (and died) in World War II pass away and are no longer here to tell their stories, collections like this one become ever more valuable as a link to our past. Strongly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
A beautifully compiled collection that offers a poignant insight into the realities of war. I can't recommend this highly enough.
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