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The 1940s House Hardcover – 24 Nov 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Channel 4; 1st edition (24 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752272535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752272535
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 2.2 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

World War II was dubbed "the people's war". In the words of Winston Churchill it was "a war of unknown warriors (in which) the whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women and children". From children to great-grandparents, everyone was expected to muck in and make do. How then would a modern-day family cope with the hardships and inconveniences forced upon people in Britain between 1939 and 1945? That was the idea behind the Channel 4 series The 1940s House. Having volunteered to swap home comforts for the home front, the Hymers were evacuated to a property of the period and exposed to the harsh realities of wartime living: a bygone world of powdered eggs, gas masks, ration books, blackouts and air raids.

"There were many occasions when I thought, 'I can't do this, too much is being expected of me'," wrote Lynn Hymer in her diary. "But then I'd stop and say, 'Hang on a minute, I am here for a wartime experience'. In the war the women didn't say they couldn't do it, they just got on with it".

Far from being a lightweight behind-the-scenes TV companion The 1940s House offers a serious insight into what day-to-day family life was really like during wartime. By featuring photographs from the Imperial War Museum and including correspondence of home-front veterans, historian and author Juliet Gardiner documents the reality along with the reconstruction. A beautifully produced book that pays tribute to the millions of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. --Christopher Kelly

Review

We would not take kindly today to advice on how to put out an incendiary bomb in the hall, keep an eye out for enemy agents, eat prunes to keep "regular" and make do with mock bananas and whale meat. Such was household life in World War II. Much along the best-selling lines of The 1900 House, Channel 4 will recreate in a four-part series and the accompanying book what it was like for a family to experience the war, with all the controls exercised by the government over food rationing, the "dig for victory" appeal, mobilisation of women, even the propaganda for women to "stay lovely for him" despite make do and mend, clothing coupons and exhaustion. Books were in short supply. Sixty years on, amid a glut of titles, this one carries an appeal which extends beyond nostalgia, being a living piece of history, evocatively illustrated and concluding with an appendix on "how to research your house's war."

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I gobbled up the book. It describes both life on the wartime homefront of West Wickham and life as an ordinary 21st century family recreating the experience for nine weeks. I felt drawn in the wake of the family's coping experiences. There are little details that about coping without a 'frig, about the family's feelings about stumbling into their air-raid shelter, about the experiences of their neighbours who actually lived through the war. Extremely moving, esp. for a Canuck born after the war. We didn't deal with much of the horror here, the uncertainty, yes, so it's a revelation. I really appreciated the commitment the family had to fully participating in the difficulties of the war experience both for their education and as a tribute to the women who went through the real thing.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the series on tv, and was really looking forward to reading this book to learn more about the familys experiences, but unfortunately the bulk of this book is about the war and Churchill in general - rather than the Hymers social experiment. Its still a very interesting and informative read, but I wanted to see more of the Hymers day-to-day experiences which weren't in the all to brief tv series. Most of the info in this book is available in any 'Wartime London' history book. A little disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful companion to the TV series that I have become obsessed with. I watch it over and over and never get tired of it. Being born just after D-Day, and a history major in college, I am fascinated with anything about WWII. The book is filled with background on the homefront and could have had more on the Hymers, but all in all I think this was the perfect family and the perfect experiment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved the series wanted the DVD but it's way too expensive so got the book instead
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, written by one of the members of the 'Cabinet' which ran the lives of the 1940's family, gives us more information about the conditions during the war, and a bit more information about the family and how it coped with the privations of the project. I loved the series and found this book a terrific supplement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have no idea how families lived in 1940, not just coping with a war but in their everyday lives, this book takes you there. It tells of a modern day family who are sent to live in a house equipped exactly as in that period, and to lead as accurate a 1940's life as possible. The reader follows their progress and their problems, their delights and their complaints. Illustrated wonderfully in both colour and black and white, it is a must for any library. Both entertaining and educational. The photography is first class.
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Format: Hardcover
A brilliant insight into life in wartime. I missed the BBC programme when it was shown but was wanting something for my grandchildren to read in conjunction with a story of my life. This book fits the bill and has helped me remember much about my wartime life as a small child.
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