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Wartime Women: A Mass Observation Anthology: A Mass-observation Anthology of Women's Writings, 1937-1945 (WOMEN IN HISTORY) Paperback – 25 Jun 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (25 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842126172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842126172
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A unique document offering unrivalled insight into women's minds and lives during the Second World War.

About the Author

Dorothy Sheridan has been at the Mass-Observation Archive since 1974.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My link to reading this book was the excellent Mass-Observation based books edited by Simon Garfield (We are at War, Private Battles, and Our Hidden Lives). The women's contributions to those books were generally more thoughtful and interesting, so this seemed like a logical next step.
The book is arranged in 23 chapters averaging around 10 pages each. There are two types of material from the Mass-Observation archive. The less interesting material for me was the summary reports prepared at the time based either on direct observation or a summary of views from written reports. These were deliberately written as summary documents, dealing in general trends, but this only emphasises that it is the human touches and ability to recognise the very human, modern traits of the diarists in Garfield's collections (or the books based on Nella Last's writing) that makes them so enjoyable. I generally skipped this material and looked for the gems among the second type of chapter, the individual accounts and contributions.
Readers of Garfield's books will be pleased to know there is not much overlap at all - Pam Ashford makes a brief appearance writing about the Munich crisis in 1938 and Nella Last has, ahem, the Last word. There are some fascinating contributions, including Amy Briggs, a nurse from Leeds, and Muriel Green, a Norfolk girl working on the land in Somerset. They made me hope someone else will edit and publish more of their work.
Certainly there are a few duds, such as the chapter about an ambulance driving-test which just goers on and on and on, but these are few and far between.
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Format: Paperback
An interesting historical approach to a subject often over looked. From a modern opinion, it is of great interst to see the honest views of women 70 years before, from a range of social and finacial backgrounds. Although it seem to drag towards the end, it was overall delightful and humerous book at times, with a realistic attitude to a serious subject.
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I am enjoying this book very much.Having read Simon Garfield's Mass Observation anthologies I appreciate the way the diaries and responses to questionnaires are explored more fully and illustrate how seriously and much valued were the writings submitted.
My criticism would be of my particular edition in which the font size is so small I almost abandoned the book before I got going. The fact that I have enjoyed it so much, in spite of this, is testament to its compelling content.
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AS I HAVE READ OTHER BOOKS ON THIS SUBJECT I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT AND WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE WITH AN INTEREST IN WHAT ORDINARY PEOPLE'S LIVES WERE LIKE IN WORLD WAR 2.
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I have read a few of these books. They are taken from the diaries of a cross section of members of the public, before and during the Second World War. I find the writings fascinating.. They give an accurate account of the just what it was like, day to day living with the threat of war, and how they coped during the war. Read these book, it will surprise you.
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By A. Roberton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wartime Woman by Dorothy Sheridan is a collection of the thoughts of the women who took part in the Mass Observation Scheme to find out about the thoughts, opinions and feeling of woman during the war years.

It is amazing to read the extracts and understand the things that mattered to the women during this period and also to consider them in light of how the future role of women would be determined after the war.

Not all the extracts are well written but this just goes to show the cross section of women who were encouraged to take part.

It is a very informative book and well worth the read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't know about Mass-Observation reporting by Wartime Women recording everyday life but I found the content disappointing. A brilliant idea which no doubt kept many women sane but on the whole I thought they were really too busy working & surviving to keep detailed diaries! There wasn't much of real interest. I've read better books written by women of the camaraderie in situations during WWII. Only a selection though from the archives.
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