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Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle For Britain: A New History in the Words of the Men and Women on Both Sides [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Levine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Drawing material from the Imperial War Museum's extensive aural archive, Joshua Levine brings together voices from both sides of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain to give us a unique, complete and compelling picture of this turbulent time.

In June 1940, British citizens prepared for an imminent German onslaught. Hitler's troops had overrun Holland, Belgium and France in quick succession, and the British people anticipated an invasion would soon be upon them. From July to October, they watched the Battle of Britain play out in the skies above them, aware that the result would decide their fate. Over the next nine months, the Blitz killed more than 43,000 civilians. For a year, the citizens of Britain were effectively front-line soldiers in a battle which united the country against a hated enemy.

We hear from the soldiers, airmen, fire-fighters, air-raid wardens and civilians, people in the air and on the ground, on both sides of the battle, giving us a thrilling account of Britain under siege. With first-hand testimonies from those involved in Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, Black Saturday on 7th September 1940 when the Luftwaffe began the Blitz, to its climax on the 10th May 1941, this is the definitive oral history of a period when Britain came closer to being overwhelmed by the enemy than at any other time in modern history.

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"Terrifically moving stuff" (Dominic Sandbrook Daily Telegraph)

"Anyone who wishes to learn about human courage, and human endurance, should read this account. It is more powerful than any drama, more convincing than any fiction" (Peter Ackroyd)

"the stories range from the humdrum to the heroic and all of them are full of pathos" (BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine)

"vividly and compellingly recalls a time when the nation stood as one" (Choice)

"With the rawness and immediacy that only this kind of oral history can provide." (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The Blitz.

Part Three of a landmark oral history - narrated by Simon MacCorkindale

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2328 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Digital (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041OT9I0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #204,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joshua Levine is the author of Operation Fortitude and On a Wing and a Prayer. He is also a playwright and writer for television. His last book, Beauty and Atrocity, a history of the Irish Troubles, was shortlisted for the Writers' Guild Non Fiction Book of the Year Award.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Voices - Essential Reading 5 July 2009
This volume in the Forgotten Voices series is just excellent (aren't they all ?). The book starts off with recollections of the Dunkirk evacuation (the contempt the RAF were held in by the army after events in France,is evident !)& the subsequent threat of Nazi invasion,as Hitler planned Operation Sealion.Then we arrive at the Battle of Britain & finally accounts of the Blitz.
There are, as ever with these books, some very moving testimonies (the stories related by those who witnessed death, injury & destruction during the bombings of London & Coventry,are particularly emotional)
The recollections of the pilots from both sides involved in the Battle Of Britain is fascinating,engrossing & enthralling (there but for the grace of God & all that).
As ever, I marvel at the courage, dedication,selflessness & sacrifice that are evident in the pages of these books. This does not paper over the "darker" side of the "Blitz spirit" - there are stories which touch on theft, black marketeering & assaults on women but what does shine through is the fact that in the majority of cases the British people seemed to exhibit quite frankly, unbelievable spirit & bravery in the face of huge, almost unimaginable (for later generations),unfathomable adversity.
All in all, a marvellous slice of British wartime history - a must.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars battle of britain/ the blitz. 31 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fascinating read, personal accounts taken from the sound archives of the IWM.
The book uses the accounts of people who went thru the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, from pilots, WAAFs, firemen, police, children, civilians etc.
You can really appreciate what the people of Britain went thru in the defence of the UK when a German invasoin was threatening.
Also in the book how the people of Britain coped with the horror and carnage of the Blitz, the book really brings history alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voices from the past... 28 Aug. 2013
By Ferg
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book! This is another gem from the 'Forgotten Voices' series that I picked up recently on Amazon.

Full of emotion and anecdotes from members of the armed forces of Germany and Britain (and her allies), as well as the civilians, members of the Home Guard, nursing staff, fire service, ambulance service, and many others, all of whom contribute to make this a fascinating new insight into how people really felt and feared during this incredible time in the history of Britain.

The author has done a marvellous job of putting the excerpts in a relatively cohesive chronological order (the excerpts are all transcripts of recordings made by the Imperial War Museum and others), making this an easy and 'sensible' read. Whilst not a history book as such, it is perhaps even more insightful and informative as it really gets into the mindset of a country that was fighting for its life and its very existence.

All in all, a wonderful read, highly recommended for all buffs and anyone interested in a good old fashioned tale from Grandad!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Britain Stands Alone 26 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book forms another excellent collection of personal histories covering the early years of the Second World War. More than any standard history text could ever do it gives an insight into what it was like for Britain in the early years of the war when defeat to Nazi Germany seemed a very real possibility.

The title is slightly misleading as the book is actually divided into three sections - Dunkirk and The Threat of Invasion, The Battle of Britain and finally The Blitz. Each section is then subdivided into more specific aspects with a short explanatory history setting the scene. Unfortunately there is some cross over with one of the other Forgotten Voices books which specifically covers Dunkirk, but this only relates to a very small percentage of the text.

It's nice to see that the author has managed to balance the accounts of airmen on both sides of the Battle of Britain by quoting both Allied and German sources. This allows the reader to see how the views of the airmen actually involved in the battle match up to the myths which have been created since. The descriptions of burns victims are particularly moving in this section and it makes you realise the sacrifice these young men made.

The section about The Blitz is also very well done with accounts from people from all walks of life. It's amazing to think of this happening just 70 years ago. I'm not sure the people of London would be so united now, everybody would be putting in claims for compensation !

As a history of these early years of the war this book does seem incomplete without any reference to the role of the Royal Navy in keeping this island free from Nazi occupation. The fight for control of the sea was every bit as important as the battle in the air.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book. It is well put together and easy to dip in and out of (and lose several hours to). It made everything very human and really brought home to me the atmosphere at the time and the experiances from many perspectives - from the girls de-coding german conversations, the fireman battling to save people and buildings to Churchill's War Rooms and the people working with him.

It had me laughing out loud and welling up with tears within minutes of having picked it up. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brillant again
As usual a brilliant book,the words from people that were there no some made up stuff,I've read a lot of these books and respect to everybody who shared their past.
Published 6 months ago by ricky
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
Great insight into the lives of those who lived through the Battle of Britain and the blitz. A lot short comments but put together paint what I can only imagine was a pretty... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great moving facts.
It brought back lots of memories, I was 14 in 1944 and started work when the bus bombs were at their hight but
Lots of the stories in this book, we had heard before but not... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Viza
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Another great book from the "forgotten Voices" series. The book is made up of short accounts by the actual participants in the Battle of Britain - and not just the pilots... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Martin H. King
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave
AA good read and leaves you full of lots of emotions that people must have gone through at such a tough time.
Published on 23 Mar. 2013 by john
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
Absolutely love the forgotten voices series, and this is no exception. Filled with incredibly moving thoughts and memories from some of the bravest men in the world. Read more
Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by Lara Mulady
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to those folk who were there
This is history as you have never read it before . It is as fresh today as when spoke their thoughts
In the early days of WW2
Read it enjoy and LEARN
Published on 28 Nov. 2012 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-worth reading
A wonderful book!
Because it's in the words of those who were there, this book conveys real atmosphere of the time and gives a sense of what it must have been like. Read more
Published on 7 Mar. 2012 by MBR
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, cheap package..
As this book was apparently produced in corporation with the IWM I adhere much to the contents of it and find it very good reading indeed. Read more
Published on 14 May 2011 by Paul
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