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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.
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on 8 February 2013
This is the last volume of Ruby's Blitz diaries. I found it profoundly moving, as I did the preceding volumes.

I suppose I found it so very interesting because I was born in Upminster just after the war and as a small child played with friends among the ruins of some of the bombed out buildings thereabouts (if the local Bobby didn't catch us of course). My friends and I had no idea we may be in any danger playing amongst this rubble. We had no concept either, of what had gone on during the war.

My parents moved to Upminster just after the war ended and I was born, unexpectedly, to rather ageing parents. I learned from a very early age not to mention the war as it would infuriate my mother and bring on panic attacks and tears. Of course, as I grew up and learned a little of what my mother and other siblings had gone through in the war,I began to feel sympathy for my poor mother, who never really got over it. My adopted brother never returned from Burma and I did not know he had existed until I was a teenager.

Reading Ruby's diaries really brought home to me how my family must have felt with being threatened not only with being killed every day by flying bombs, but of also being made homeless, as my mother was, when coming out of the Anderson shelter one morning.

I have been so moved to read of Ruby's sad life with a husband who didn't understand her needs or desires, (quite common in those days in England - my father was much the same, spending more time at Mass than with my mother.

I would love to know if Ruby found peace and happiness at last. I hope so.

I thank Ruby's family for publishing the diaries and would like to say they have really helped me to understand my poor, dear, sad mother and her behaviour during my childhood.

I lost my mother in late childhood, the war had taken it's toll on her nerves and health. After reading Ruby's diaries, I feel closer to my mother now than I ever did when she was alive.

This book and those preceding it are very absorbing, and if you know Romford and it's history I think the diaries become alive
even more.
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on 12 January 2013
this is a harrowing account of a woman in torment. At war with the Luftwaffe, her husband . her relligion, her sons fiancee, and all men. Quite a portfolio. Ruby was terrified durng the bombing and the doodlebug attacks and V2,s .She felt life was very unfair as her husband did not respect her intelligence. A life of material privilege distorted by war she wished to return to the United states where she had been happy with her family. Despite her hatred of her husband and his fanatical dedication to the church she enjoyed physical intimacy on some occasions and hated it in others. Herr diaries reveal her innermost thoughts and introspective agonies. She kept over a hundred diaries. Some times too detailed for the casual reader but reccomende for any student of the war years and femine phycology, with an insight into religous doubt.
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on 20 January 2013
I have read all 4 of Ruby's published diaries now and I have to say it has opened my eyes somewhat to WWII. Whilst I knew of the atrocities and the fact that so many Countries were involved and of the hardship faced by the British - people and forces what I hadn't realised was the intensity of the bombing over here, the number of bombs that dropped in one area on one day, and the effect it had on people, there are other things too which without giving away Ruby's writings have made me think. She is an educated lady who sometimes shows a selfish streak, a strong feminist streak and a misunderstanding of others - however this said I didn't go what she went through and didn't walk life in her shoes so who am I to criticise. All in all a fascinating read.
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on 13 September 2013
My mother grew up at this time around the corner in Romford and knew some of the people mentioned in this series of books she enjoys reading about it again.
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on 3 February 2013
These four volumes offer an amazing eye witness account of a very important part of British history from the perspective of a civilian lady. Most history is written by soldiers, politicians or academics. This account pulls no punches and uses the language of the time not the politically correct variety forced upon us by current thinking. This is real history.
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on 23 January 2013
Really interesting. I know the area very well and reading about what happened in the streets I know made it very gripping. It was almost a history lesson. I learnt so much and now understand why the types of buildings are so different. The whole series was really excellent.
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on 24 December 2012
What a fabulous insight into the lives of women and men in the second world war and this lady in particular. Riveting, painful, happy, written from the heart with such piercing truth and conveyance of the horror of war.
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on 12 February 2013
I've read the other 3 volumes as well & really enjoyed them all,you have to start with volume 1 to really get into the family life.Can't believe people had to live through this time well worth the read.
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on 7 February 2013
As I said in my reviews of the other books from the author, great read but you must read them all to get the best idea of what London was like to live in during the war.
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