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4.8 out of 5 stars51
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 December 2011
Fascinating insight into the lives of women - and men - during this period of not-so-distant history, told through the words of people who lived through it. Made me revisit the stories told by my own mother of that time and see them in a whole new light. Also made me wonder how today's generation would cope, as we enter another period of austerity, without, one hopes, the trauma of war. Compelling reading, can't recommend highly enough. Have bought two copies for Christmas presents for relatives who shared these experiences, and may buy more for those who didn't.
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on 21 April 2013
I bought this book to help me with my third year uni dissertation. I loved the use of personal testimonies and stories to illustrate the point-that there were millions of women all in the same boat during the war. Found it really interesting, and have referenced it numerous times. A great read.
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on 10 August 2011
A truly remarkable collection of accounts and analysis of the many and crucial roles played by women during the last war and the post-war years. An important book that should be read by everyone.
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on 19 October 2011
This book brings home the horrors our parents/grandparents lived through. It is humbling to read how they survived, how they prepared to eat rats, and yet throughout it all kept their spirits up. Yet when their men returned they were expected to be the 'homely little wife' again, and forget all the skills and independence they had acquired. The years 1946-1949 are rarely mentioned in novels. The euphora they felt when war ended was soon lost as rationing continued, and the austerity must have been even harder to endure. I highly recommend it and hope young people read it.
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on 19 July 2013
Fascinating - a look at how the lives and expectations of women were turned upside down by the second world war. A particularly interesting read in conjunction with another book by Nicholson - Singled Out which complements this nicely being about how the "excess" women after WWI carved careers and influenced society
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on 15 May 2014
This book is simply brilliant. Weaving together details of the lives of a variety of women and the public record of war, the author brings
alive what life was like, especially for women during the war, either in Britain or serving abroad. Having grown up in wartime Britain, I recalled and recognised here exactly what life was like then. Nicholson has meticulously researched her material, official accounts and personal diaries, but has presented it all as a living, warm and sympathetic account. You feel you really know these women and I appreciated more what my mother and others had done for me as together we lived though that extraordinary time.
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on 7 June 2014
This book should make women appreciate what we have today. We are no longer tied to the kitchen sink and can choose the career we want, this was not possible for the masses at the end of WW2. I have given the book 4 stars as I kept losing track of the people. Nicholson gives an example of one lady, then uses her again about 5 chapters down the line by which time other characters have been introduced and I'd forgotten about the original! This happens with all the characters throughout the book. However, it is a well researched book with an easy writing style.
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on 19 February 2015
I absolutely loved this book. It is written with immense respect and knowledge and gives a real insight into what women went through during the war. Not just on the homefront, but in the services too. Everyone from a char to a debutant was affected and is written about.

I have this on audiobook and it was narrated with feeling and empathy. I would thoroughly recommend it
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on 9 March 2012
I was totally absorbed by this Christmas present success that saw me through the cold nights of January. Virginia Nicholson sends the reader on a journey into the lives of women from all walks of life during the dark days of WW2. Many of the women you might have come across before if you are a keen reader of social history such as Simon Garfield's books on the Mass Observation diaries. For me it was a treat to meet these characters again as their histories are so rich and vivid and give us a glimpse and understanding of those days. When I was a child (born in mid 60s) the war was only a generation past and still remained vividly in the lives of my parents and grandmothers. I was filled with stories of blackouts, rationing and VE Day. This book is now a history of a seventy years ago and details beautifully the hardships, depravations as well as bravery and strength of spirit of people who won't be around for tell us their stories for much longer. Nicholson has tapped into a rich vein of social history which must never be forgotten. Utterly readable, utterly absorbing and should be read by anyone with an interest in the cause of women during the twentieth century.
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on 27 October 2013
This is an excellent book on World War 2 as seen mostly through the eyes of the women who served during it; not just in the military, but in war effort jobs. It's a fascinating read and really allows modern day readers to understand and empathize. Highly recommended.
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