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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is emotionally deep in a way I have not met
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...
Published on 5 Dec. 2002

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Academic study book
It does what it says in the title but does show some of the limitations of research in different communities.
Published 21 months ago by Bangerman


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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is emotionally deep in a way I have not met, 5 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived, survived and flourished!, 8 Nov. 2012
By 
D. Spark (leeds) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and full of fascinating detail, 23 Feb. 2012
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Still important after all these years...., 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
5.0 out of 5 stars How We Lived Then, 7 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: How We Lived Then: A history of everyday life during the Second World War (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Memories, 30 April 2011
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
4.0 out of 5 stars How we lived then, 18 Feb. 2014
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars The grain of the voice: time regained., 31 Mar. 2015
By 
Mr. G. Morgan "wes" (Haywards Heath, England) - See all my reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting recollections for those who experienced World War II, 30 Aug. 2013
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Been reading this to my elderly mother who has lived through both World Wars (just); she is very much enjoying the descriptions of the life of civilians during WWII. As the book is specifically using first hand reports of people who actually experienced the events it gives a really good record of life for the average household.
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in stories of real people, for schools studying is period and perhaps particularly for those who lived through the War and can relate to the recollections.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too much information at times-but fascinating nevertheless., 5 Nov. 2014
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The premise of this book was good, solicit stories and anecdotes from ordinary people across England about their experiences in WW2, good or bad, funny or sad and put them in a book. And by the look of it, the author received material in abundance from every conceivable type of person often in pretty inconceivable situations. As such it's a success, but…what I found annoying and disjointed at times was the way this cornucopia of information was organized. Page after page was basically a listing of peoples' stories and memories strung together with little imagination.
At times it's almost as though he was overwhelmed with the amount of material he had acquired and felt the need to cram as much in as possible, often without too much back ground of the wider picture.
It gets better when the author focusses on specific areas, industries or sectors…The evacuation of Children from the major cities to the countryside was particularly interesting-and the statistics astonishing and so much more interesting as a result.
However, the whole book is a pleasant change of perspective about WW2 which normally concentrates on the politics and the military. Overall it shows just how incredibly resilient, resigned and restrained the British public was to their plight and the way they coped so magnificently.
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