Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: How Britain Kept Calm And Carried On, by Anton Rippon

This book is a collection of anecdotes from the Home Front during World War Two. For those unaware, the Home Front refers to the organisations and activities devoted to protecting people in the UK itself (so, the Home Guard, ARP Wardens, AA-gunners, and so on).

The little stories have been collected over a prolonged period of time, but only published quite recently. This is helpful, as the war was quite some time ago now, and if the book’s contents had been collected today the stories would’ve been far fewer.

A few of the stories I’d heard already online, but the vast majority (over 95%) were completely new to me. All have a light-hearted or downright comedic slant, so this is not a book for those after solemnity or poignant memories.

The anecdotes, as you might expect, vary a bit. Some are paragraphs, other last a couple of pages. Some are hilarious, many are amusing and a few fell slightly flat, but given the nature of the book a hit-and-miss result is to be expected.

The book is divided into various themed sections, including some from the perspective of children or women. Each section is introduced by the author with a rough outline that sketches out the situation for that particular group, which is handy for those (like me) whose knowledge of WWII is pretty limited.

Although modern history really isn’t my thing, I did enjoy this book. It’s easy to either read a slew of stories at once or just dip into it for a little while.


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