4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mother Country breaks new ground,
This review is from: Mother Country: Britain's Black Community on the Home Front 1939-45 (Paperback)
MOTHER COUNTRY unearths a hidden history of Britain and the Second World War. This new book by Stephen Bourne highlights the contribution to the British war effort made by black Britons. These include community leaders Dr Harold Moody, Learie Constantine, BBC broadcaster Una Marson, London air raid warden E. I. Ekpenyon, fire watcher Esther Bruce (an adopted aunt to Bourne), singers Adelaide Hall and Elisabeth Welch, bandleader Ken Snakehips Johnson and black senior citizens who have been interviewed by Bourne about their memories of the home front in West Africa and the Caribbean. Very little attention has been given to black British and West African and Caribbean citizens who lived and worked on the front line during the Second World War. Yet black people were under fire in cities like Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester, and many volunteered as civilian defence workers, such as air-raid wardens, fire-fighters, stretcher-bearers, first-aid workers and mobile canteen personnel. Many helped unite people when their communities faced devastation. Black children were evacuated and entertainers risked death when they took to the stage during air raids. Despite some evidence of racism, black people contributed to the war effort where they could. The colonies also played an important role in the war effort: support came from places as far away as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Nigeria. Mother Country tells the story of some of the forgotten Britons whose contribution to the war effort has been overlooked until now.
Says playwright & critic Bonnie Greer: "Stephen Bourne brings great natural scholarship and passion to a largely hidden story. He is highly accessible, accurate, and surprising. You always walk away from his work knowing something that you didn't know, that you didn't even suspect. Mother Country is quite simply a home-grown triumph."