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When the Children Came Home: Stories of Wartime Evacuees Hardcover – 3 Mar 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847377254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847377258
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 0.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`I found myself so moved by passages in the book that when I tried to read them out to my wife, I had to keep pausing and take deep breaths.' --Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday 20/3

`The story of the evacuees and their wartime experiences is the subject of a brilliant new book' --Daily Express 28/3

About the Author

Julie Summers is a bestselling writer, researcher and historian. Her books include :Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy Irvine; a biography of her grandfather, the man who built the 'real' bridge over the River Kwai, The Colonel of Tamarkan, Stranger in the House and When the Children Came Home,a social history of servicemen returning to their families from the Second World War. She lives in Oxford.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is about the mass evacuation of children and often their mothers from our Cities during WW2 and the long term effects on family life. It is a must read for anyone interested in what became of those children and their families after the war had ended. There were 4 mass evacuations and Julie Summers provides a detailed account of each of these and the monumental achievement of those involved. The facts and figures have been thoroughly researched, and this is an achievement in itself. The icing on the cake though are the real stories told by the evacuee children themselves. Now in their 60's and 70's they all say that their experiences profoundly affected them for the rest of their lives. Most of the stories are heart warming accounts of the war time spirit and the desperation of parents wanting to safeguard their children You will weep for those who suffered the sinking of the SS City of Benares and wonder at those who escaped from the invading Japanese in the Far East. Some stories give a shocking account of the abuse that some children experienced when placed with unsuitable foster parents, whilst for others it was the time of their lives. Highly recommended for its insight into the desperate years of WW2 and the profound effects that still ripple through our society today.
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Format: Hardcover
Based on interviews, archive material and memoirs, this delightful book tells the true stories of the 3 million British children evacuated during World War II from its bomb-ravaged cities to the safety of the countryside. For most, it saved their lives, but it changed them forever. Most poignant are those who, having struggled to cope with rural life, then found they could not readjust at home: the child who had come to love snowdrops, the boy who could no longer bear the noise of his overcrowded slum family, the many children who returned to a recognition of how dirty and limited their home lives really were. The foster parents varied from dire to people with hearts of gold, and they were changed too. I loved the story of the bachelor in Herts with an East End Jewish family who joined in their festivals, even doing the Yom Kippur fast, though the year he started off with bacon he suffered terrible thirst all day! Today it all seems so strange, almost callous: we would not so readily send our children away. But we have not faced the same dangers, which Julie Summers makes real. A lovely book and a great read.
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Format: Hardcover
A compelling story of the experiences of 2nd World War evacuees. The beauty of this telling is that the Author is able to empathise with the children, the parents, and the foster parents. Taking on a child for 4 years or even less was a huge emotional responsibility and left its mark in the lives of all who were part to it. The parents, missing so much of their child's life and having an adolescent stranger return to the house. The children, many of whom missed the foster homes dearly when they left to return to slums, and the foster parents themselves who formed very strong emotional bonds to the children. The thought of bringing someone into your life for 4 years and then having them snatched away forever without any notice is a truly haunting one.

Somehow the author manages to bring together all of these stories with an understanding that helps mould them together and allows the reader to come to terms with the hardships and happiness endured and felt by everyone in the book. Truly inspirational reading.
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Format: Hardcover
A book of this nature has been long overdue. The true story of the evacuation of British children during World War Two has been a topic that has really only been investigated fully in the last few years and, although plenty has been said about the going away and staying in the reception areas, little has been said about the children coming home and the impact it had, both on the children themselves, the family they returned to, and indeed the foster family they left behind.
Julie has skillfully woven together an inticrate strand of historical fact, personal accounts and human emotion, to produce an excellent account of life at the time and the effects post-war. Highly recommended.
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By P. Waller VINE VOICE on 4 July 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a war baby and even now recall watching the bombers fly over the house on their way to bomb Germany. We had some bombs land on some houses about 1/2 a mile away but that was all. Reading these stories is hard at times for what those children went through with some of the horrible supposed 'surrogate' parents. Some went to hell and back and some even were as badly off even with their own parents. Others it seems had a more loving and stable relationship than they did with their own parents and others though enjoying their time away were overjoyed to be reunited with their parents. This books sits well with the DVD 'Into the Arms' of the Jewish children whose parents got them out of Germany to England and into similar siutations with 'surrogate' parents.
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Format: Hardcover
Julie Summers finds yet another fascinating angle from which to look at the effects of war on people - this time the evacuees who were sent out of the areas of England thought to be at risk of Invasion, Blitz and Doodlebug. They were despatched far and wide, some into the countryside, a surprising number abroad. They experienced the good and the bad, and in many cases came back to a home they really did not recognise. Moving stories, well researched and beautifully told. This is a book that will stir up memories for many families who were involved, and is well worth adding to your must read list.
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