I read this book with very considerable interest because I moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands when I was 7, in 1945, at the time the German Occupation Forces had just been expelled or captured. Hundreds of German soldiers were still being trucked around every day to help repair the tomato industry. I was soon in school, at Elizabeth College, which had been the HQ of the Germans in Guernsey.
Madeleine Bunting decided to write a book on the Occupation because she read that two Gurnsey Jews had been taken away by the Nazis and killed. She has written a very good book, taking the chance of stepping on hidden sensitivities, and I am told she was quite hurt by some of the responses she received. Sensitivities there certainly were. Nothing was spoken about the Occupation for the first years after the War ended, but then people did mention the poison-pen letters giving away who owned an illegal wireless etc. There was a varying degree of collaboration with the Nazi rulers, some for luxury items, sometimes for much-needed food, or out of fear. And as Madeleine Bunting shows, those who were around when she wrote this book were by then in a new world, of tourism paqrticularly, and wanted only for the dark years of Occupation to be seen as a small, brave corner of Europe doing its best to survive in very very difficult circumstances.