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The Real Dad's Army. The story of the Home Guard. [Paperback]

Norman Longmate
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Oct 1974
A narrative history of the Home Guard from its creation in May 1940 to the end of the Second World War. The enduring popularity of the BBC TV series Dad's Army has focused attention on one of the strangest and least military armies ever formed - The British Home Guard. What started as an improvised band of volunteers, had grown by 1942 into a conscripted, disciplined and well-equipped force with a strength of nearly two million men. Norman Longmate, an ex-member of the Home Guard and an authority on wartime Britain, has collected together a wealth of hilarious anecdotes as well as all the unlikely facts to produce the first popular history of the Home Guard to be written since the war.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books; 1st edition (17 Oct 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009909830X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099098300
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 20.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,138,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'A fascinating history' --Daily Mail

'Wonderful stories - a well-written account of the last line of defense' --Daily Mirror --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Norman Longmate, ex-Private 'F' Company, 3rd Sussex Battalion, Home Guard, joined 'Dad's Army' at the same age as the fictional character 'Pike', seventeen. To this day he contends that the much-loved sitcom was remarkably accurate in it's portrayal of life in the Home Guard. After the war he read modern history at Worcester College, Oxford and went on to work as a journalist and radio producer of history documentaries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has written more than twenty books, mainly on the Second World War. For this book, and many others, he made requests through regional newspapers for veterans to contact him with their memories. To this day he maintains a massive archive of original recordings and letters. He was historical adviser on the hugely popular Channel 4 TV show, The 1940 House. His other books include DOODLEBUGS: THE STORY OF THE FLYING BOMBS ('Full of sad, funny and harrowing anecdotes' THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, 'Consolidates his position as the most evocative historian of the 1940s Home Front' THE TIMES); AIR RAID: COVENTRY 1940 ('The definitive account' COVENTRY EVENING CHRONICLE); THE HOME FRONT ('A wonderful book' JENNY UGLOW); HOW WE LIVED THEN: A HISTORY OF EVERYDAY LIFE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR ('The best social chronicle of the period I have read' THE SPECTATOR, 'A marvelously comprehensive panorama of the six shattering years misses nothing... Excellent' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH); IF BRITAIN HAD FALLEN ('An excellent and fascinating book' THE SCOTSMAN); THE WORKHOUSE ('Finely researched' THE SPECTATOR, 'A readable and impressively-researched history of the workhouse - comprehensive and moving' PUNCH); ISLAND FORTRESS: THE DEFENSE OF GREAT BRITAIN, 1603-1945 ('An enthralling account' JAN MORRIS, THE INDEPENDENT, 'An excellent study. Elegantly written, constantly fascinating narrative history at its best' THE GUARDIAN); THE BOMBERS: ROYAL AIR FORCE AIR OFFENSIVE AGAINST GERMANY, 1939-45 ('An exceptionally good book' THE FIELD). He lives in London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proud testament to the Home Guard 18 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
Distinguished, but unfortunately often overlooked, wartime/social historian Norman Longmate has made a great contribution to our knowledge of the war with excellent in-depth books on the V1s and V2s, the Coventry Blitz and his essential How We Lived Then, a detailed history of the British Home Front.

However, as a former 17-year-old Sussex Home Guard, he was expertly placed to write the first major post-war history of the Home Guard (amazingly, it took 30 years for the first major book on the subject). Originally published in 1974 as a paperback, although rather thin, it was a detailed and accurate history of the HG, with Longmate using accurate examples from end-of-war HG unit histories, to back up his narrative.

This 'new' version is sufficient but could have been tweaked to make it even better. It retains exactly the same written content, which although still stands the test of time, could have been expanded. The original paperback was 128 pages: the new hardback is 192 pages: the majority of which is new illustations that on the whole do not appear in Longmate's original. These include cartoons from the 1945 comic book 'Home Guard Humour', which amusingly and accurately portrays the HGs shortcomings but nonethess ribs the force and excellent colour plates of Eric Kennington's wonderful portraits of HGs from all over Britain, originally published in John Brophy's 1945 Britain's Home Guard book. The majority of the new photos are (c) Jonathan Reeve archive and despite studying the HG for 30 years, although they are posed press photos, I have not seen many of them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely insight into a largely forgotten time 4 Mar 2011
By PQS
Format:Hardcover
Despite sometimes somewhat clunky writing, this is a lively and sensitive insight into a time now remembered by a shrinking group of people. Well worth reading, particularly by those born after 1945.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant read 30 May 2013
By mark
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
very good read if you like the real story of what really happened on the Home Front during the Second World War.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review 1 15 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This product arrived here on time, was as described and has been good to read about the history of the home guard
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic Recreation of a Golden Age 12 Oct 2012
By Dr. Laurence Raw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Norman Longmate's book cuts through the sentimental view of Britain's Home Guard, as presented in the famous television series "Dad's Army," and presents a portrait of an organization in which enthusiasm mattered more than anything else. The Home Guard might not have been able to resist Hitler's troops, had the Germans invaded Great Britain, but their very presence provided security at a time when Britain feared for their future security. An entertaining read.
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