We Are At War: The Diaries of Five Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times Paperback – 2 Mar 2006
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"Wonderful stuff" (Sunday Times)
"Fascinating, delightful, illuminating. The diarists soon become like old friends ... and make our wartime past seem no more distant than yesterday" (Mail on Sunday)
"It's always easy to imagine people in this period becalmed in a sepia-toned limbo. This book tells the messy, but far more interesting, truth" (Time Out)
"Few books have so successfully stepped inside the minds of the British people during wartime" (Metro)
"A fascinating account of everyday life in Britain" (Good Housekeeping)
The highly-acclaimed diaries of ordinary people's lives in WWII, packaged as a massmarket woman's read for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of warSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading the four complete diaries was an engrossing experience. How different these people were to each other and how similar they are to people today. Nothing much changes, does it? I see that there is another book just published and I shall be buying that one, too.
Sometimes the diarists are not particularly likeable - you encounter racism and defeatist attitudes at certain points. But that is something that makes this volume particularly interesting. Knowing that these pages are going to be read by others, the diarists are still painfully honest in their fears and their prejudices. Very enlightening, and highly recommended, especially as a companion volume to Hidden Lives.
Simon Garfield has made an excellent job of his selections and has included some very interesting entries. I liked all the diarists but especially enjoyed the entries from Christopher Tomlin, Maggie Joy Blunt and Pam Ashford. I found Christopher Tomlin most amusing at times, especially in the way he described the conversations between his parents and himself.
Pam Ashford tells us some intriguing things and she also made me laugh a few times with her descriptions of office life, especially about the opinions of Miss Bousie - and also about her home life, her mother being another interesting character who, in 1939, didn't think war or air raids were going to come!
All in all a truly fascinating read and a thought provoking one, given that we readers know the outcome of everything. I find it particularly interesting when the diarists refer to "the future in 50 years" which would have been 1989 - it just shows how fast time goes past really. I also like it when they refer to "the future historian" as I feel like they are pointing right at me, even though they obviously did not know me and I was not born for another 45 years after they wrote those words!
A highly recommended read, you get lots of information and unknown little snippets from the past, the opinions and thoughts of someone from war time and personally, I got the feeling and atmosphere of the 1940's just by reading the words, which is a nice little means of escape from this hectic modern lifestyle! Highly recommended for any history lover.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love the mass observation compilations. Feel I knew these people by the end. Wish they would publish more !Published 5 months ago by Readitmakesyouhappy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, being a war baby I connected and understood much of The trials of living at that time, but I never realised the difference of living in different... Read morePublished 17 months ago by darcie
Interesting to read what ordinary really thought and things we were never told. I enjoyed his books so much I have now got all 3 of his war books, plus some of his others and... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
This paper back has been bought for a gift it seems very interesting I am sure my sister will enjoy itPublished on 19 Jun. 2014 by Mrs. M. L. Dorsett
An enlightening insight into the lives of ordinary people during the war. A present for my husband who was really pleased with it. And he doesn't normally read books!Published on 4 Jun. 2014 by tato
To read these extremely absorbing diaries of 5 'ordinary' men and women living through the first 2 years of World War 2 felt like a great privilege. Read morePublished on 14 Mar. 2014 by R. Tierney
I had read Simons other Diaries book and had enjoyed that so could not wait to read this. Interesting to read about peoples daily lifes and thoughts during a differcult time in... Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2013 by staffadour
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