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Nine Wartime Lives: Mass Observation and the Making of the Modern Self Paperback – 16 Jun 2011


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Review

Review from previous edition [A] welcome, scholarly and illuminating installment in the story without end of the "People's War" (Juliet Gardiner, Financial Times)

The life stories are moving and beautifully described. (Vernon Bogdanor, New Statesman)

A compelling account that presents much that is unexpected about the lived experience of the war. Hinton is to be congratulated on demonstrating the value of a welcome and overdue 'biographical turn' in historical studies. (Penny Summerfield, BBC History Magazine)

Elegantly written and subtle in its analysis, this book will offer much to those interested in the social history of the war, those new to using personal sources, and more generally to those interested in existential questions about life. (Hester Vaizey, Times Higher Education)

[An] absorbing and sophisticated exploration of how the public demands of war intruded into the provate sphere and moulded new identities. (Literary Review)

Skilfully synthesising a dense conceptual literature on themes of modernity, identity and the self, Hinton makes a powerful case for the value of diary-writing to the historian...an immensely enjoyable read. (Review in History)

An absorbing volume packed with illuminating detail and convincing analysis. (Sue Bruley, History Today)

Hintons book is a valuable resource not just for students of mid-century Britain but for anyone interested in the puzzle of modern democratic selfhood. (Alan Allport, Twentieth Century British History)

This is a beautifully written and often moving book; a contribution to both the historiography of the war years and a thoughtful meditation on the construction of selfhood. (Lucy Noakes, English Historical Review)

About the Author

James Hinton has published widely on the social history of twentieth-century Britain. His early work in labour history included The First Shop Stewards' Movement (1973) and Labour and Socialism (1983). A spell of intense political activism in the 1980s anti-nuclear movement was reflected in Protests and Visions: Peace Politics in Twentieth-Century Britain (1989). More recently he has published monographs on two contrasting groups of active citizens during the second world war: Shop Floor Citizens (1994), and Women and Social Leadership (2002). Following his work on the Mass Observation diaries, he is now engaged on a full-scale history of Mass Observation.

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