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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Blitz Book
This is an exhaustive description of the UK blitz in 1940/41. The author has put together all the best of Ziegler combined with Imperial War museum and Public record office transcripts to produce the most enlightening and passionate survey of this period yet. The focus on the mundane as well as the bravery of the AFS ARP and other fire services is simply breathtaking. It...
Published on 30 July 2011 by Mr. M. G. Blake

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too-small fonts are hard to read
Just started reading the book, very interesting, but the font used is incredibilly small, whhich turns reading this book form a pleasure to a torture.
Pity, editors don't think of this.
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by WGilman


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Blitz Book, 30 July 2011
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This review is from: The Blitz (Paperback)
This is an exhaustive description of the UK blitz in 1940/41. The author has put together all the best of Ziegler combined with Imperial War museum and Public record office transcripts to produce the most enlightening and passionate survey of this period yet. The focus on the mundane as well as the bravery of the AFS ARP and other fire services is simply breathtaking. It is also a thumping good read. Human, humane and unafraid to confront official incompetence, this is incendiary stuff. Bravo.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The blitz examined in detail., 29 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Blitz (Paperback)
Anyone who is familiar with Juliet Gardiner's books `Wartime Britain 1939-1945' and `The Thirties - An Intimate History' will know exactly what to expect from this book, and they will not be disappointed. Again the reader is presented with a well-researched and thorough work, making good use of the first-hand accounts of those who lived through the events covered. It seems insensitive to say that they were the lucky ones but, of course, so many also died. It is a stark fact, given near the end of the book after various accounts are given by survivors of the raids, that not until the autumn of 1942 had the enemy killed more British soldiers than civilians. This statistic, quoted by Ms Gardiner, is just one example of many I could pick to show how this book manages to bring home to the reader, simply and effectively, the true horror that was the Blitz.

There are other books available on the subject, indeed you can read about the blitz in many general books about the Second World War, but I doubt whether a more readably detailed volume has been published about it. Ms Gardiner examines the blitz not just from the angle of how it was experienced in London, but also by giving equal attention to the awful destruction it brought to towns and cities across the country. By so doing she avoids the accusation, thrown at the Ministry Of Information by many residents of these other municipalities at the time, that London was somehow regarded as more important than them in the news releases issued about the raids. The official reasoning was that to give out precise details of location and damage done in other cities would be to assist the enemy in their planning for future raids. Thus, for example, after a devastating raid on Hull, the national press simply reported a raid on `a north-east town' or a `northern coastal town'. Understandably such reporting caused resentment.

We not only hear of the horror experienced in places as diverse as Coventry; Liverpool; Bristol; Birmingham; Plymouth; Clydebank and Belfast, as well as London, (and I apologise now to the places I have missed out); we also hear from the ARP workers and those individuals in the Heavy Rescue Squads who, whilst the fire services were often fighting against the odds to bring many a conflagration under control, were dealing face to face with the awful consequences of such indiscriminate and sustained destruction. Some of the accounts are harrowing. Indeed, the bravery and determination of these rescue workers and firefighters, (many of whom became casualty statistics themselves), shines out, on occasion casting a stark light on the ineffective organisation put together by some local civil defence authorities for dealing with the situation.

The unsatisfactory condition of a good number of the public air raid shelters is revealed. In terms of sanitation and structural soundness many were severely wanting. The government's initial reluctance to condone the use of the London Underground for shelter from the raids is also mentioned, as well as the varying experiences of those who sheltered in their own Anderson or Morrison shelters.

These and other subjects that affected people's experiences and attitudes during the blitz - people incidentally from both ends of the social scale - are comprehensively reported in a book that can only raise admiration in the reader for the poor souls that lived through it, determined not to be beaten, and also for an author who has so informatively written about it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too-small fonts are hard to read, 9 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Blitz (Paperback)
Just started reading the book, very interesting, but the font used is incredibilly small, whhich turns reading this book form a pleasure to a torture.
Pity, editors don't think of this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Gardiner..., 11 April 2012
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C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blitz (Paperback)
I've read several of Gardiner's books before, and this one doesn't disappoint. She has a very readable style and manages to strike a good balance between the broad picture and the intimate details of people's lives. The Blitz was obviously had an enormous impact across the nation, but what really brings it home are the small details of individuals - the mothers and children sheltering in the Tube stations, the old ladies in their Victorian bonnets bombed out of their home, the fire wardens stationed in St Paul's.

She also focuses not just on the physical impacts of the bombing, although it is incredible to read of the sheer physical destruction - being myself born over forty years after the Blitz it's hard to appreciate the scale of it - but the emotional and psychological impacts. The 'Blitz spirit' is such a cornerstone of the British mythical view of ourselves, so it's interesting to read about the reality - which was that people did get discouraged, people did get hysterical, people did get angry and frustrated and defeated, but such feelings were usually temporary and mostly served in the long run to strengthen people's determination that Hitler would not win.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Blitz, 19 Jun 2014
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I have bought this book for a present and I'm sure it will be very well received. The paper back looks very interesting
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched account of the Blitz, 22 May 2014
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Very detailed, well-written account from this highly respected historian - doesn't pull any punches regarding the gruesome business of clearing up after a heavy raid.
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The Blitz
The Blitz by Juliet Gardiner (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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