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Challenges received wisdom
on 30 July 2012
If you enjoyed the previous diaries, Volume 4 will not disappoint. If you have yet to read them, Volume 4 will persuade you.
This final volume of the Blitz diaries shows Ruby Side Thompson still tempted to return to the Anglican Church, and unsure as to whether she wished to remain under the same roof as her staunchly Roman Catholic husband. Fear and lack of sleep during night-time bombing sharpened her dilemmas. She continued to struggle with poor health, feel degraded by wartime privations, and believe that men, and men only, had caused the war. New troubles were the V1 and V2 missiles which terrified civilians even as the prospect of an Allied victory increased, and a near-permanent family rift which was not fully healed by the birth of a grandchild. Writing candidly, without revision, Ruby continued to produce a compelling, day-by-day account of a troubled woman in troubled times which is by turns thoughtful, intolerant, far-sighted and reactionary.
I can't improve on the many excellent reviews of the diaries posted on Amazon and elsewhere, but I add a personal observation. Although my relatives lived through the Blitz, none described retching with fear, or limbs that shook with terror so violently during night-time bombing that they hurt the next day. Nor, in my presence, did anyone question the need for the war or doubt the Government's honesty during its duration. Ruby's diaries challenge received wisdom.