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How We Lived Then: History of Everyday Life During the Second World War, A: A History of Everyday Life During the Second World War Paperback – 4 Jul 2002


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How We Lived Then: History of Everyday Life During the Second World War, A: A History of Everyday Life During the Second World War + The People's War: Britain 1939-1945: Britain, 1939-45 + Wartime: Britain 1939-1945
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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (4 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712668322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712668323
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 4.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An immense and impressive assembly... Must surely remain an invaluable essay in the remembrance of things past" (Times)

"Superbly detailed and illustrated... From stirrup pumps to Spam, Norman Longmate's marvellously comprehensive panorama misses nothing. Excellent" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A landmine of information covering every field of civilian life in wartime from the grandeurs of the blitz to the miseries of dried eggs and the six-inch bath" (Cyril Connolly)

"Much of it is extremely interesting; some of it is fascinatingly out-of-the-way; and all of it contributes to building up a true picture of everyday life in England from September 1939 to August 1945" (Observer)

"Mr Longmate has recruited an enormous volunteer army of home-front veterans who sent him their wartime recollections... He has brilliantly sifted and assembled the precious debris" (Guardian)

Book Description

'Minutely detailed, accurate, skilfully marshalled and engagingly written, it is quite the best social chronicle of the period I have read' Spectator

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
before in books about civilians in WW2. The accounts supplied by ordinary people are so poignant I cannot read them aloud to my husband without crying. I was born in 1949 and have always felt I had missed something when people spoke about it. Now I can "experience" it for myself. I have read 3 chapters, and already told my sister about it. She won't want to wait until I have finished it, she is getting one of her own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Spark on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book some 2 or 3 years ago and found it the most interesting book that i had ever read. Since then i have read many other books but found nothing to compare and having been given a Kindle as a birthday present as soon as I realised that the book was available in this format I was determined to re-read it.
Highly recommended to anyone who either lived through that period or who has the desire to learn what our parents or grandparents went through, this book is a MUST !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Madame Cholet on 23 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
My parents lived through the Second World War but I knew little of their lives then. This book fills in the details and answers for the questions that I never asked. It is a story of the lives of ordinary folk trying to survive on a day to day basis, with little money, resources and no knowledge of where their loved ones were. Looking at the references, Norman Longmate has undertaken a huge task and created a valuable resource for the lay reader and the historian alike.An increasingly important record as the remaining survivors of the war begin to decline.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bryan on 9 Aug. 2012
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I am so pleased this remarkable book is still in print. It is nearly 40 years since I first read the Arrow paperback version which really changed the way I looked at history and opened my eyes to the gems hidden in the Mass Observation archive. 40 years on and I am still an avid reader of social history, but this book and Angus Calder's "The People's War" are what set me on the road, and they have never been bettered. Read this and be transported.....!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marran Grey on 7 Oct. 2011
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This book is useful for students or those with an interest in the past. In brings years now gone to life for those who live now; through its pages we can see the effects, socially, politically and personally, of war and the changes war and its associate sciences and attitudes brought.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Iwas There on 30 April 2011
Format: Paperback
A book that brings back events and people that I had forgotten, being a book about all the things that effected the little people in their daily struggles, it brings back the uncertain feeling that we all faced, rumours travelled quickly which didnt help. My family consisted of my parents and six children, how my Mother managed to feed us all was a mystery. My brother was called up to the RAF, one sister to a factory making shells, another sister went into the Land Army so this was just a normal wartime family. I lived in a British Legion House on a small estate of 16 houses all residents were allocated a house on the basis of being disabled or widowed through injuries received through serving in the First World War, they must have all wondered what was required to be done to keep the peace!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jillwroe on 18 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For anyone like myself who loves reading about life in the war will enjoy this book, but I did find myself skipping quite a few pages which were not of interest to me. I would have preferred more detail on people's actual lives rather than just snippets but that is the nature of the book, enjoyable none the less and I learned things I had not previously heard about so a bit of an eye opener.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Morgan on 31 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
To capture the spirit of a time is no mean feat and in his compelling book the estimable Norman Longmate manages it superbly. I was born in 1958, not realizing how close to the War this was, despite my Father regaling me with stories of life in the London Blitz. This book triumphantly vindicates Mass Observation - not that it needed it - and we have a window, or an ear, on the past that has scarcely been approached in quality or volume. I can see why it has moved readers to tears, as an aide-memoire: like Proust's madeleine words can bring back the way things were in a manner that photographs can never match. Essential reading, not least for those reading academic tomes who should be encouraged to read Longmate's volume to catch the atmosphere of what it was like at the time. Extremely readable too.
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