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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid memoir of a remarkable life, 8 Nov. 2012
By 
Walt Patterson (Chesham Bois Bucks UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Short Century (Paperback)
The fact that Lorna Arnold, now aged 96 and blind, has written a memoir of her life, is itself remarkable. Even more so is the story she tells - watching her father's airship during World War I, working in intelligence and the diplomatic service in World War II, helping to administer postwar Berlin, serving in Washington, then - to her surprise - becoming the official historian of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Her meticulous and enthralling account of the catastrophic Windscale fire in 1957, for instance, is rivetting reading, an exemplary demonstration of official history at its best, forthright, unsparing and penetrating. This memoir shows that in her ninth decade she still writes with a freshness and clarity to cherish. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intellectual working woman's 20th century, 27 Mar. 2014
By 
Prof DBG Heuser "DBG Heuser" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Short Century (Paperback)
Leaving aside privileged members of small elites in other countries, Britain has been the country that has spearheaded women's emancipation. This was probably only in part a funcition of Britain's values, as until the 1960s and later, it was assumed even in this country that women would give up their jobs when they got married. The reality was a harsh one: not necessarily for high ideals, but as a matter of sheer necessity, women have had to work as there have been few ages in our history where lower and middle class families could depend on only one income. Spinsters, war widows, or women who had simply been deserted by husbands, there have been millions who had to take on the burden of feeding their families. Lorna Arnold was such a one, although by then she already looked back on an amazing and highly unusual career as a young woman working in the War Office's support branch for resistance movements in Europe, as perhaps Britain's first female diplomat, as a representative of the Allied powers in post-war ruined Berlin, and as an eye-witness to the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington that is the foundation of NATO. Her immensely varied career from biscuit factory to helping build up the Family Planning Association to becoming an historian of Britain's nuclear research, told with much humour and generosity, makes a fascinating read, offering invaluable insights into 20th century British history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A full life, meticulously recorded, 1 May 2014
By 
J. Saunders (Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Short Century (Kindle Edition)
I came to this book via an old schoolfriend who happened to be the author's son. It came as a revelation: the autobiography of a woman who lived a long and fulfilled life taking in almost the entirety of the 20th century and who dealt with the various obstacles placed in her way with an unshowy determination. Her ability to deliver crisply-worded, professional minutes as a wartime administrator was the foundation stone of her later career as an official chronicler of the nuclear power industry, and it is a skill which never left her as she was able to deliver this beautiful work at the age of 96. I was particularly taken by the early chapters in which she described her childhood and her abundant love of nature. Reading this book was like Lorna's life: a wholly positive experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal memoir, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: My Short Century (Kindle Edition)
Very interesting account of a lost period of British history. Her account of her employment during the war years is fascinating because of her description of how women were considered to be of little use at that time - an attitude that persists in some quarters till the present day, but at that time could be expressed openly. The memoir is very readable, and she was a remarkable person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, informative & obviously sincere, 13 April 2014
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C. K. Semmens "Coshipi" (Ely, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Short Century (Kindle Edition)
Lorna was my aunt, so I can't pretend complete independence! But I have a very high regard for her integrity & intellect - & she had a very interesting life, with experiences, shared here, that have implications relevant to us all to this day. Her incisive thoughts on many issues are well worth sharing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Remarkable Life, 6 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: My Short Century (Kindle Edition)
A story worth telling of a successful and fulfilling life. From humble beginnings she became an expert on the development of nuclear weapons in this country.
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My Short Century
My Short Century by Lorna Arnold
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