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The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace Paperback – 27 Sep 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace
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  • Nella Last in the 1950s: Further diaries of Housewife, 49
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  • Housewife, 49 [DVD] [2006]
Total price: £25.98
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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (27 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668546X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846685460
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.6 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 244,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A fantastic story (Victoria Wood)

My gut feeling is that Nella will come to be seen as one of the major twentieth-century English diarists. (David Kynaston, author of 'Austerity Britain')

Whatever her mood, Nella Last has the quality shared by all great diarists: of making her readers feel that however vast the differences between her life and ours, they are easily outweighed by the shared experiences of love and loss, disappointment and hope, that she describes with such artless humanity. (Daily Mail)

I relished it ... her personality is so powerful. (Margaret Forster)

An excellent correlative to the mantra "everyone has a novel in them". Some people are natural diarists and Nella is one of the best . . . She also used literary language in an entirely naturalistic way. (Lesley McDowell Sunday Herald 2012-09-23)

An epic journal . . . What brings her diaries to life is their unpretentious freshness and honesty. (Michael Kerrigan Scotsman 2012-10-13)

Book Description

A collected edition of bestselling author Nella Last's diaries, including substantial never-before published material from the war years

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was disappointed with this new edition: much of the background detail from Broad and Fleming's edition is missing so there's hardly any detail about Nella Last's budgeting and scrimping, food prices, cooking, housekeeping and general 'dodges' - and this is surely what makes her diaries so unique. It also misses out interesting happenings such as the arrival of the premature baby and the way Nella coped during the dreadful 1940 winter. There's also an irritating lack of the word 'the' at the beginning (admittedly a minor moan). Granted, there's far more background and different material but I don't think this improves the selection: Nella Last's strengths were her ability to keep house, cook, budget, cope and make do on a small amount of money, and although the Malcolmsons retain just enough information that new readers can get the general idea of how she operated, they also miss out a lot of useful information on the difficulties of cooking and housekeeping during the war years and postwar austerity.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I have never read these books before I feel like I have joined the story halfway through, I could not buy Nella Lasts first bock as it was unavailable on kindle so I feel that this book is heavily edited and doesn't give you a real feel of her relationship with her husband and fellow wvs workers however that said I have enjoyed the book and it has given me a lot of insight into what war was like for women although I think Nella lived in a very middle class world that was a vastly different experience to that of my mother in the land army overall a enjoyable book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book for the new wartime material, having read and enjoyed the previous three volumes. However, there seemed to be an inordinate number of articles missing which made the text jarring and slightly incomprehensible. I left a review here about this, and said that it didn't seem to be Nella's style (compared to the previous volumes) to leave 'the' and 'an' out so abundantly. One of the editors then left a message to say it 'definitely was her style' to do this. I still stand by my observation though and wonder why I have never noticed this in any of her other writing - particularly the original wartime diaries (published in the 1980s), which would have been written at the same time. Has anyone else notice this?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With my obsession for all things concerned with the WW2 domestic homefront I had to have this book as an addition to my other Nella last books, especially as we lived in Barrow a few years ago. Although large parts of the book are repeated information from previous books, there is enough new stuff to make this worth reading and there are also new photos.
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I watched the film on television and enjoyed Victoria Wood's performance. Having read the diary it gives far greater insight to Nella Last. They should have made a short series rather than one film. A memorable read, highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Am totally fascinated by Nella Last. Have read all previous books and although parts of this book I had already read in the other three I still enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations of a normal person through the 30s, 40s and 50s, the decades which really changed the world.
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The diaries of Nella Last have been a great discovery and there is a lot more material to be uncovered. It is unfortunate that she did not live to see the posthumous fame which she achieved. Her ambition to be a writer was a realistic one. In many ways her life was an unhappy one: trapped in what was essentially a failed marriage and with an uncertain relationship with her gay son who emigrated to Australia to become a sculptor (whether she recognised he was gay is unclear, although there are hints that she did). But for all these family difficulties, and against a background of austerity and hardship, she made the best of life, drawing solace from the beauty of the Lake District and her cats.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poorly edited, with far too many explanations from editors as to why they chose and edited these particular extracts from Nella Last's diaries.

Much as I have been interested by her diaries I feel Nella has been let down by the authors/editors ..lacks flow and ends too abruptly.....number of words required by publisher reached? .. Also proof reading has left a lot to be desired. Over reliance on computers?

Too expensive a price to pay for this book I'm afraid. Can't recommend.
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