THE HOME FRONT 1939–1945 IN 100 OBJECTS
Author: Austin J Ruddy
Publisher: Pen & Sword (Frontline Books); 212 pages, over 100 Photographs
Published: November 2019
Publishers blurb cont ... A rare, previously unpublished, snapshot of legendary American bandleader Glenn Miller playing at a UK air base.. A twisted remnant of German V2 rocket that went to space and back before exploding over London, the result of equally twisted military science. Colourful flag bunting that saw the VE celebrations in 1945: All disparate objects that together tell the moving and important story of Britain's Home Front during the Second World War. The ordinary objects featured in this book, whether those produced in their millions to the far from ordinary or unique, all portray and exude the highs and lows of the British people during six years of war. From the deprivations of rationing and the bombing of the Blitz, to the cheery songs, elegant fashions and Dig For Victory' spirit, are all captured in colour. The phrase If only this could talk ' is often heard: in this book, the objects almost can. All the objects have a general contextual background history and any specific known associated story is also included, all in a clear form, with cross-references to related subjects. Packed with colour and archive photos, facts, figures, dates and statistics for easy reference, The Home Front 1939-1945 in 100 Objects is the perfect book for students, historians, collectors and general readers, enabling a clear understanding of one of Britain's most important historical periods.
REVIEW: From ‘Mickey Mouse’ gas masks to air raid sirens. Sylvan Flakes to a ration book. All were essential items during those wartime years in Britain. This object packed book by Austin Ruddy is very good and will appeal to a wide range of readers. It is not uncommon to come across objects like these in old junk and antique shops around the UK, all of which are amazing survivors. It is through these objects that Ruddy tells the story of those dark years on the Home Front, a frontline in its own right, and not without its dangers. The Home Front was truly an active theatre of war for the British who were under threat of invasion, aerial bombing, chemical warfare and severe rationing.
The 100 objects in the book are a time capsule of the Blitz that some readers would have lived through, or had parents, grandparents or great grandparents that would be familiar with many of this objects. Whilst living memory of these events is fading, this book not only helps to record that age, but to bring it to life in print. It is more than just a list of objects, each one has a full description and set into the context of the period, in a narrative that takes the reader from the Phoney War to the eventual Victory in Europe.
I recommend this book to all those seeking an understanding of the Home Front and this slice of social and military history. Well written, nicely produced, a gem of a book!