- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st Edition edition (2 Oct. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300140436
- ISBN-13: 978-0300140439
- Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.7 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 870,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Demobbed: Coming Home After World War Two Hardcover – 2 Oct 2009
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'Wonderfully researched, sensitively written and often very moving, 'Demobbed' tells an important, underappreciated story that still resonates today.' --David Kynaston, author of 'Austerity Britain, 1945-1951'
About the Author
Alan Allport was born in Whiston, England, and grew up in East Yorkshire. An expert on the Second World War, he is currently a postdoctoral lecturer at Princeton.
Top Customer Reviews
We usually think of joyous reunions of returning servicemen from WWII, seamlessly re-entering peacetime jobs and wives happy to have them back. But a somewhat darker image lies just beneath the surface, and Alan Allport explores this in seven chapters packed with details that are disturbing.
Allport correctly concentrates on the experiences of the demobbed men, and does not cover the British auxiliary forces (ATS, WRNS, WAAF), which story is so different in key respects, that they cannot be covered in a book that concentrates on the experiences of men.
Most popular accounts of demobbed soldiers are anecdotal in style, and some historians still believe demob to be non-problematic, according to Allport. Thus, this writer brings to the table a careful examination of original primary source material, including court documents and press accounts of the period.
Allport's startling revelations come in 7 chapters. Chapter 1, servicemen were anxious to return home, and when it didn't come soon enough, insubordination broke out. The Bevin demob plan was based on a simple formula, with realistic expectations that were generally accepted. With the Labour Party newly installed, political promises of a quick demobilization were short-lived. Some bored airmen, awaiting demob, went on strike. Chapter 2 details how back home, the homecoming became passé...coming home slowly and anonymously, after many had had fantasies of reunion: the cozy vision of his wife, waiting in a bright apron, a hot cup of tea in her hand. It was not to be.Read more ›
I did not see him until I was nearly 5yrs old and we always had an uncomfortable relationship until his death in 1975. I found reading this book very emotional as I experienced very similar feelings to the ones portrayed in chapter 2 (so you're back then). I was terrified of this strange man who appeared one day as to me my Dad was someone who wrote letters and sent the occasional parcel from abroad.I was just starting to get to know him when he died at 63 and I found I missed him far more than I ever thought I would. So to anyone who was born during the war and had a father fighting abroad I urge you to fead this book. Thank you to Alan Allport for writing it.
Alan Allport has examined the wives (often faithful but sometimes not), the children and the serviceman's pre-war employers and contemporaries - plus officialdom. All of them had differing views on the returning serviceman's lot, plus their own.
Many of those left behind during the conflict suffered deprivations of their own and were sometimes unsympathetic to the plight of the soldier who also experienced trauma of a different nature. This could vary with sarcastic comments from the reserved-occupation type: " ... of course, you fellows in the Services had all the good food!" to the crass, "So, you're back then", the latter comment being particularly poignant.
Little wonder the men who had seen six years of war found it difficult to adjust to peacetime; and of course, some never did.
This is an exceptionally well-written book - I thoroughly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and gained a lot from it. The homecoming issues are often overlooked when researching/reading about the second world war. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Extremely good read it took me back to the time my parents got together before and after the War!!Published on 27 Feb. 2015 by roger hill
It answered a lot of questions that I have had for years.Published on 20 Nov. 2014 by Colin Kennedy
Having read a few WWII novels and seen many films from that era, as well as hearing about those times from my parents and other relatives, there was still much to be learned by... Read morePublished on 9 Aug. 2013 by Paul.F
Read and enjoyed the nostalgia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..Published on 8 May 2013 by P. J. Newman