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Christmas at War: True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front

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No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas? That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas wa No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas? That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas was an ordinary day: they couldn't afford merrymaking - and had little to be merry about. Others, particularly those with children, did what little they could. These first-hand reminiscences tell of making crackers with no crack in them and shouting 'Bang!' when they were pulled; of carol-singing in the blackout, torches carefully covered so that no passing bombers could see the light, and of the excitement of receiving a comic, a few nuts and an apple in your Christmas stocking. They recount the resourcefulness that went into makeshift dinners and hand-made presents, and the generosity of spirit that made having a happy Christmas possible in appalling conditions. From the family whose dog ate the entire Christmas roast, leaving them to enjoy 'Spam with all the trimmings', to the exhibition of hand-made toys for children in a Singapore prison camp, the stories are by turns tragic, poignant and funny. Between them, they paint an intriguing picture of a world that was in many ways kinder, less self-centered, more stoical than ours. Even if - or perhaps because - there was a war on.


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No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas? That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas wa No turkey. No fruit to make a decent pudding. No money for presents. Your children away from home to keep them safe from bombing; your husband, father and brothers off fighting goodness knows where. How in the world does one celebrate Christmas? That was the situation facing the people of Britain for six long years during the Second World War. For some of them, Christmas was an ordinary day: they couldn't afford merrymaking - and had little to be merry about. Others, particularly those with children, did what little they could. These first-hand reminiscences tell of making crackers with no crack in them and shouting 'Bang!' when they were pulled; of carol-singing in the blackout, torches carefully covered so that no passing bombers could see the light, and of the excitement of receiving a comic, a few nuts and an apple in your Christmas stocking. They recount the resourcefulness that went into makeshift dinners and hand-made presents, and the generosity of spirit that made having a happy Christmas possible in appalling conditions. From the family whose dog ate the entire Christmas roast, leaving them to enjoy 'Spam with all the trimmings', to the exhibition of hand-made toys for children in a Singapore prison camp, the stories are by turns tragic, poignant and funny. Between them, they paint an intriguing picture of a world that was in many ways kinder, less self-centered, more stoical than ours. Even if - or perhaps because - there was a war on.

30 review for Christmas at War: True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    Inspiring and informative resource focused on the six Christmases during WWII Having read a number of the ‘I Used To Know That’ books by Caroline Taggart, I am a keen admirer of her gift for pulling together a wide range of material on a topic and presenting it in an accessible and very readable format. Christmas at War is no different and the focus is on the six wartime Christmases of 1939-44 and includes first-hand testimony, diaries and letters from the period and factual details which togethe Inspiring and informative resource focused on the six Christmases during WWII Having read a number of the ‘I Used To Know That’ books by Caroline Taggart, I am a keen admirer of her gift for pulling together a wide range of material on a topic and presenting it in an accessible and very readable format. Christmas at War is no different and the focus is on the six wartime Christmases of 1939-44 and includes first-hand testimony, diaries and letters from the period and factual details which together provide a valuable insight into the lives of British citizens across a large demographic, both urban and rural. The overall takeaway from this compilation is of a time when the nation was less self-centred and materialistic than today, and humanity and spirit came to the fore as the country united. Divided into chapters with each focused on a specific area the book covers a broad range of relevant topics, from rationing to evacuation and family life. Taggart does not shy away from chronicling the hardships of the era, with fear, anxiety, loneliness and boredom all featuring prominently in many of the first-hand accounts. Although detailing the London blitz of late 1940, Christmas at War does not concentrate solely on the offensive in the capital but also highlights the effect on major ports and industrial centres and, with the enemy aiming to have the greatest effect on civilian life and national morale, cities of cultural significance. The final chapters are devoted to the experiences of those in active service or held in prisoner of war camps during the period and are anything but rose-tinted. My overriding memories from this book are Caroline Taggart’s eye-opening factual sound bites and it is these, along with the handful of more vivid, poignant and heart-warming accounts that will stay with me. Examples of such anecdotal testimonies are Christmas pudding made with carrots replacing dried fruit for moisture, sending poultry through the post, paper chains glued with a paste of flour and water and women painting seams on the back of their legs in order to appear as though they were wearing nylons). From petrol rationing to the suspension of TV broadcasts and enforced dietary changes (including advice to make cakes without eggs), the flourishing black market, the Women’s Land Army, blackouts and Operation Pied Piper to evacuate children, Christmas at War is a tremendous resource and overview which is terrifically broad in scope. The appeal of this book is widespread and its value as a living testimony of the people who lived through the era for future generations is obvious. Although solidly engaging from the off, I did feel that the the book was a little top-heavy with first-hand memories, many of them covering the same ground and becoming rather repetitive. Whilst some of the individual stories leave a lasting memory, many of the other personal accounts seem to merge into one and add little to the bigger picture. I was of the opinion that whilst some of the accounts might have left a lasting personal memory they were far from being particularly informative for general readers and an increase in hard facts offering an overview of the situation (from the basics of rationing, to the process of evacuation and use of air-raid shelters etc), would have made for a more stimulating read that was easier to draw conclusions from. A useful almanac of Britain during WWII and one which I look forward to sharing with folks old and young. As a forty-year-old reader I was surprised to find I learnt a great deal and gained a far better appreciation for those who lived through the hardship and misery, but could always muster a smile and exemplified the value of family life. Many of the personal testimonies also demonstrate the kindness and generosity of strangers and the lasting legacy of post-war austerity is made apparent. A bittersweet reminder of Christmas time during a devastating offensive and the ideal remedy for the customary jaded sighs, grumbles and expectation of expensive gifts at Christmastime!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Subtitled ‘True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front’, Christmas at War is an interesting collection of firsthand accounts and excerpts from contemporary articles, journals and letters about people’s recollections of Christmas during the years of the Second World War. I liked the the way the author used phrases from the reminiscences as chapter headings, such as ‘You’ll Have to Have Shop Butter From Now On’. I also loved the photographs in the book. My particular favourite was o Subtitled ‘True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front’, Christmas at War is an interesting collection of firsthand accounts and excerpts from contemporary articles, journals and letters about people’s recollections of Christmas during the years of the Second World War. I liked the the way the author used phrases from the reminiscences as chapter headings, such as ‘You’ll Have to Have Shop Butter From Now On’. I also loved the photographs in the book. My particular favourite was one of an Anderson shelter decorated for Christmas which really epitomises the spirit of the contributions to the book. One small niggle was what seemed like inconsistent formatting of the text. However, I eventually worked out that verbatim accounts were shown in normal text and excerpts from letters or diaries shown in italics. The book commences with evacuees’ recollections of Christmas away from their families, with some better than those they’d experienced previously and others just different. For example, Christmas in the country versus in the city with one contributor remarking that ‘out in the country in the 1940s you were still pretty much in the nineteenth century’. Evacuees recall new experiences – different Christmas food and traditions, for example – but also loneliness, cruelty, even physical abuse. I was surprised to learn of the lack of government pre-planning for evacuation with organisers in some cases knocking on doors to find people willing to take in evacuees. In the chapter entitled ‘Thank Goodness…Now We Can Get Some Sleep’, contributors recall nights spent in public shelters when, contrary to what you might expect, they found they slept better once the air raid warning had sounded because the uncertainty was over. Sharing a shelter with so many other people didn’t provide much privacy. ‘There was an Elsan toilet pan surrounded only by a heavy hessian curtain. People used to time their bodily functions to coincide with bomb or gunfire or aircraft flying overhead…’ However, many recall the so-called ‘Second Great Fire of London’, the night of 29th December 1940, when a hundred thousand incendiary bombs and twenty-four thousand high-explosive bombs (yes, you read those numbers right) were dropped on London. Much of the book is given over to reminiscences about the shortage of luxury goods and foodstuffs typically associated with Christmas and the ingenuity required to conjure up anything resembling festive fare. Hence the many recipes for ‘mock’ something or other that prevailed at the time. Similar ingenuity was required when it came to Christmas decorations and presents with much use of recycled items, hand-me-downs, homemade presents and gifts courtesy of ‘bring and buy’ sales. That was unless you had useful contacts who could obtain goods in short supply or were fortunate enough to benefit from the generosity of strangers. And, of course, with television off air for the duration of the war, with the exception of the radio, entertainment had to be of the homemade variety too: sing-a-longs round the piano, card games, board games and charades. What really came home to me reading the book was how many of the things we now associate with Christmas were absent from people’s lives. For example, all the church bells were silenced, only to be rung if invasion was imminent. Gatherings of family and friends were necessarily limited by petrol rationing, evacuation, people serving overseas, loved ones confined as prisoners-of-war and restrictions on leave. Despite all of this, people continued to make a valiant effort to celebrate Christmas in whatever way they could. Whether in hospitals, on active service overseas or even confined as prisoners-of war, people tried their best to create some festive spirit. The book ends on a more sombre note, acknowledging that the last Christmas of the war (1944) was one of contradictions. There was optimism that Germany was close to defeat. On the other hand, 1944 had seen the most devastating bombardment of London, including with the dreaded ‘Doodlebugs’, killing and injuring many and resulting in the destruction of homes, businesses and infrastructure. Christmas at War was one of the books from my NonFictionNovember reading list. It made the perfect literary companion to a historical fiction book I read shortly before – A Ration Book Christmas. I believe Christmas at War would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone with an interest in social history or the Second World War and how it affected the daily lives of ordinary people.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ria

    This was an absolutely fascinating read, I loved hearing of Christmases gone by and it was amazing how people celebrated during such an austere period of history. Simple values, gifts and make do and mend, homemade gifts, home cooked foods when able to get ingredients were all given as presents. Stacks of interviews and accounts of people who actually lived through this time gives the reader a sense of immediacy of the period and a sort of living history. All facets of Christmas were discussed, ent This was an absolutely fascinating read, I loved hearing of Christmases gone by and it was amazing how people celebrated during such an austere period of history. Simple values, gifts and make do and mend, homemade gifts, home cooked foods when able to get ingredients were all given as presents. Stacks of interviews and accounts of people who actually lived through this time gives the reader a sense of immediacy of the period and a sort of living history. All facets of Christmas were discussed, entertainments, sing songs, music, food, games, gifts, traditions, decorations, farm life, city life, this included everything and all ways in which people kept Christmas in their own way. Sadly of course this was a harsh time and there are the living off the land aspect and animal cruelty I found tough to deal with so marred the enjoyment of it somewhat thought I appreciate that the author has to recount everything faithfully to be accurate to give the correct flavour and my triggers might not be someone else's. So overall this was fantastic and a totally different and refreshing Christmas read blending history and fact.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

    I expected to find this book rather twee and for it to gloss over the deprivations suffered by many on the Home Front. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it is neither twee and nor does it shy away from the poverty many found themselves thrust in. It does mention how little food was available on almost every page but as these are the memories of those who actually lived through this cataclysmic period in our History you can forgive the author for over-beating the drum. It is quite London c I expected to find this book rather twee and for it to gloss over the deprivations suffered by many on the Home Front. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it is neither twee and nor does it shy away from the poverty many found themselves thrust in. It does mention how little food was available on almost every page but as these are the memories of those who actually lived through this cataclysmic period in our History you can forgive the author for over-beating the drum. It is quite London centred. It does mention the bombing raids on other cities but the majority of the reminisces are from Londoners, whether this is because they were the only ones with easily accessible records to the author I do not know. What we do know is that housewives from around the country kept diaries which were submitted to the Government on a regular basis (watch the impeccable Housewife 49 by Victoria Wood) and it would have been nice to hear some of those voices. The book actually gives a quite rounded picture of how celebrating Christmas changed throughout the period of 1939 - 1944. People's recollections of the paper bells and concertinaed paper decorations that some of the wealthier families had made me think of my own Grandparents who had those same decorations well in to the late 1970s. The children all seem to remember making paper chains to decorate their homes and air raid shelters and that invoked a nostalgia for my own 1970s childhood when my maternal Grandmother used to sit me down to make them with her. There is no doubting that this is a nostalgic look at the war period and how people came together to make the best of things. It suffers not for that though, it is actually quite warming to read and makes you realise how much "things" have come to mean at this time rather than just the joy of being with your family, ideally playing parlour and card games instead of slumping in front of the TV. I don't think it will change anyones perspective on the season but it will put smiles on faces. That said I do feel this is probably more of a "gift book" than one you would buy yourself. I can see it featuring quite heavily in the stockings and present piles for grandparents in particular (even though they will have no recollection of this period they are nearer to it than their Grandchildren). I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW

  5. 4 out of 5

    Orláith

    I don't often read non-fiction, but when I do I seem to gravitate towards books like this. Despite being from Ireland, in my mind's eye, I always try to imagine how my grandparent fared during World War Two and I find myself remembering the stories my grandmother told me about the Belfast Blitz and the repercussions on the surrounding community. I think I liked this book so much because it isn't just a historian's account of the war, but the stories and memories of those who experienced it, who I don't often read non-fiction, but when I do I seem to gravitate towards books like this. Despite being from Ireland, in my mind's eye, I always try to imagine how my grandparent fared during World War Two and I find myself remembering the stories my grandmother told me about the Belfast Blitz and the repercussions on the surrounding community. I think I liked this book so much because it isn't just a historian's account of the war, but the stories and memories of those who experienced it, who endured it and made it through the other side. They lost family, friends and, homes yet still found joy in the little things. Although, despite what other reviewers have said, I don't think we can judge today's children's disappointment with some of their gifts by the standards of yesteryear. Children living through WWII had a much different experience to children today and no doubt if there were to be another war, children would rally and make the best of it, as children always do!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    It feels wrong to rate this like I would rate any other book but for me, this was a three star book- not because of the content but more due to how how easily the content was presented. This book was overall very insightful and interesting and I loved reading all about people's experiences. I think that these sort of things are important to read about. I also really liked the note at the start about money which I found particularly interesting. However, one thing which I struggled with at parts It feels wrong to rate this like I would rate any other book but for me, this was a three star book- not because of the content but more due to how how easily the content was presented. This book was overall very insightful and interesting and I loved reading all about people's experiences. I think that these sort of things are important to read about. I also really liked the note at the start about money which I found particularly interesting. However, one thing which I struggled with at parts was to keep track of what I was reading. I wish that other people's experiences had been in bold or a different font or even just italicised. It would have made reading this book a lot easier for me personally. I also wish that there were more paragraphs at parts because some paragraphs were pretty long and I struggled to keep track of where I was. But overall, I found this to be really interesting and I definitely learnt a learnt a lot. I'd recommend this and might reread in the future.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    A collection of true accounts of how ordinary folk from all walks of life managed through the festive period during the WWII period is most definitely a way to make you feel incredibly humbled in what is now such a materialistic time of year. What is so refreshingly original about this book is that the collections are directly from the source. This isn't a historian's opinion of what life was like for the civilians left at home. Taggart has collected accounts from all demographics; from the afflue A collection of true accounts of how ordinary folk from all walks of life managed through the festive period during the WWII period is most definitely a way to make you feel incredibly humbled in what is now such a materialistic time of year. What is so refreshingly original about this book is that the collections are directly from the source. This isn't a historian's opinion of what life was like for the civilians left at home. Taggart has collected accounts from all demographics; from the affluent to the poor, from the peril filled cities (mostly London) to the hardy rural areas. Rationing affected those in the cities most, but all felt the pinch when it came to things such as sugar, eggs and butter. Reading the lengths they went to in order to replicate a cake made with real eggs and how brilliant they were in making clothes last as long as possible as material was so hard to come by made me feel proud. Whilst not glossing over some of the heart breaking aspects, this book is full of cheer. Even the most destitute who could afford nothing, or at best having something so little as a few nuts or an orange in a stocking gave young children a huge boost...it kind of make today's consumer-loving tots look shameful. The most sobering accounts of those in POW camps, not just for one year but for many and how they tried so very hard with practically nothing to lift their spirits really hit me in the feels. I loved that this was so easy to pick up and put down as the sections of everyone's accounts are nicely broken up. Meaning if you want to delve in and out of the book (which is perfect in a busy festive period) then you won't lose your momentum. Whilst some of the accounts are definitely rose tinted (as nostalgic tales can often be), it was an incredibly heart warming book, which reinforces my respect for the many great British folk that had to make do and mend. A perfect gift for anyone. A brilliant 4 star read for me. I would like to thank Readers First and John Blake Books for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ursula

    A very readable social history of the way Britons celebrated Christmas during, and despite, the Second World War. That's 6 separate occasions and the writer does seek out variety in her accounts. We meet people of all ages and backgrounds, city and country, at home and abroad. Despite the subtitle "True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front" there are tales of service people both in Britain and all around the world, but the majority of recollections are those of civilians trying A very readable social history of the way Britons celebrated Christmas during, and despite, the Second World War. That's 6 separate occasions and the writer does seek out variety in her accounts. We meet people of all ages and backgrounds, city and country, at home and abroad. Despite the subtitle "True Stories of How Britain Came Together on the Home Front" there are tales of service people both in Britain and all around the world, but the majority of recollections are those of civilians trying to enjoy a festive season whilst enduring fear and shortages. Caroline Taggart lets the individual voices of those people take centre stage as she weaves their stories into a meaningful tale. She uses contemporary diaries, letters, speeches and newspaper stories as well as memories written or spoken years after the events. All is well-researched and often moving as those difficult days come to life for the reader. This will be a valuable resource for students and for anyone trying to reproduce those times for a novel, a play or a film. I also recommend it as a family read because people of different ages will remember those times or the stories told them by parents or grandparents. And young people will be interested in how different the lives and expectations of people living in the 1940s are to their own experience.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Looking Back A nice bright and happy cover that really sums up the attitudes of most of the people who lived through this difficult time in our history. I loved all the stories that have been collected by the author. I was born at the end of the war so was really too young to experience those years of make do and mend....but the lessons learnt during the war years lasted a good many years after. I remember the tin bath and always being the first to bathe as I was the cleanest.....we had to heat the Looking Back A nice bright and happy cover that really sums up the attitudes of most of the people who lived through this difficult time in our history. I loved all the stories that have been collected by the author. I was born at the end of the war so was really too young to experience those years of make do and mend....but the lessons learnt during the war years lasted a good many years after. I remember the tin bath and always being the first to bathe as I was the cleanest.....we had to heat the water up with a Primus stove. A very large pan with 2 handles was used...then we had our bath in front of the fire...it was a right performance especially when the coconut matting under the stove caught fire!!! after that experience my parents bought an electric copper which was a lot easier. From saving wrapping paper, swapping magazines and to eating the strangest of food combinations there are so many experiences in this book to make one smile and chuckle and bring back forgotten memories. It was a most enlightening and enjoyable read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Tyson

    I have to say that I did enjoy this book. It was interesting to read how different Christmas was during the war and what people put up with, or how imaginative people became; not how we are today and what we take for granted now. I can't imagine having tinned spam for Christmas dinner! It's safe to say that the war really took it's toll on Christmas for everyone, more so if you lived in the city it would seem. Living in the country definitely had it's benefits as you would mainly grow most of yo I have to say that I did enjoy this book. It was interesting to read how different Christmas was during the war and what people put up with, or how imaginative people became; not how we are today and what we take for granted now. I can't imagine having tinned spam for Christmas dinner! It's safe to say that the war really took it's toll on Christmas for everyone, more so if you lived in the city it would seem. Living in the country definitely had it's benefits as you would mainly grow most of your food, however when it came to presents everyone was in the same boat, with a lot of gifts being hand me downs or homemade. Only the wealthy didn't really see much of a difference. I really felt for the children who were evacuated, can't have been nice spending Christmas away from from home and your parents.

  11. 5 out of 5

    buzylizzie

    This is a well-curated collection of wartime Christmas memories with plenty of helpful commentary by the author. I was struck by the sometimes stark contrasts between the experiences of the poor and the better-off, town and country, captive and free. By its nature this was an episodic book, a series of sketches, which involved some repetition and did not make for a really satisfying read for me. However, I imagine that for someone who has memories of the period it would be a fascinating account t This is a well-curated collection of wartime Christmas memories with plenty of helpful commentary by the author. I was struck by the sometimes stark contrasts between the experiences of the poor and the better-off, town and country, captive and free. By its nature this was an episodic book, a series of sketches, which involved some repetition and did not make for a really satisfying read for me. However, I imagine that for someone who has memories of the period it would be a fascinating account that would trigger all sorts of reminiscences, and be eagerly read in search of items that would strike a chord. There were plenty of lighter moments and I particularly enjoyed the chapter on presents, but felt the book, perhaps rightly, ended on a more sombre note which highlighted the importance of the true spirit of Christmas.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Copping

    This is one of those books that is full of people's reminecences from start to finish. Some I found to be more interesting than others. The ones I particularly liked was the ones about the evacuees, life on the home front and how they managed to survive the war years on very little food. I think maybe people could learn a bit from this section on the lead up to Christmas when everyone is panic buying loads of food which ultimately gets wasted. There was one mistake that I noticed on page 59 wher This is one of those books that is full of people's reminecences from start to finish. Some I found to be more interesting than others. The ones I particularly liked was the ones about the evacuees, life on the home front and how they managed to survive the war years on very little food. I think maybe people could learn a bit from this section on the lead up to Christmas when everyone is panic buying loads of food which ultimately gets wasted. There was one mistake that I noticed on page 59 where it mentions the doodlebug coming back after it had dropped it's bombs! The section on Christmas toys I liked and I can remember visiting my grandparents as a child and they still had some of those toys which I loved to play with. Even my husband nowadays loves his Meccano set and Hornby trains. Anyone who likes social history will like these first hand remenicesences.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juliat

    This is a collation of memories in their own words by people who lived through the privations of the Second World War. Unfortunately this made very difficult reading as some of the segments were very short and not well written. The idea of collecting this data is very important and should not be forgotten! However the content could have been strung together in a more readable manner by the author who must have spent a great deal of time researching this book. I wanted to like it but I struggled t This is a collation of memories in their own words by people who lived through the privations of the Second World War. Unfortunately this made very difficult reading as some of the segments were very short and not well written. The idea of collecting this data is very important and should not be forgotten! However the content could have been strung together in a more readable manner by the author who must have spent a great deal of time researching this book. I wanted to like it but I struggled to continue reading. I am sure this book will appeal to the older audience who lived through those terrible times but I am not sure that the young, who need to know about sharing, pulling together and not getting everything they want, will even pick it up and look at the synopsis.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Redshaw

    I purchased this book when I was studying world war 2 at school and I was completely hooked, this book journeys through the struggles and joys of people at that time, the way that the author describes in depth their experiences really makes the book gripping, my friend also used this book to help them with there history exam and with the impeccable help from this amazing novel, they weren't that far off of full marks. This book explains the things that people of that time would struggle with, suc I purchased this book when I was studying world war 2 at school and I was completely hooked, this book journeys through the struggles and joys of people at that time, the way that the author describes in depth their experiences really makes the book gripping, my friend also used this book to help them with there history exam and with the impeccable help from this amazing novel, they weren't that far off of full marks. This book explains the things that people of that time would struggle with, such as: malnourishment, poverty, discomfort etc. I would recommend this book, not only to people studying history and history geeks, but to everyone who is looking for their next book to read, I adore this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Christmas at War', as I found it to be a book which flowed well, and the accounts of people who experienced it first-hand were incredibly informative. Many books of this genre are not written in this way, and I have found that this style is one that works well both for the writer and reader. The range of sub-topics included was very well thought out, and the inclusion of the contexts added was placed perfectly. The anecdotes evoked contrasting emotions, and allowed I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Christmas at War', as I found it to be a book which flowed well, and the accounts of people who experienced it first-hand were incredibly informative. Many books of this genre are not written in this way, and I have found that this style is one that works well both for the writer and reader. The range of sub-topics included was very well thought out, and the inclusion of the contexts added was placed perfectly. The anecdotes evoked contrasting emotions, and allowed the reader to place themselves in the situation. As a person who is greatly interested in this topic, I was originally unsure about the style of the book, but it grew on me quickly, and I really enjoyed reading it. It is a brilliantly written book!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma-Hope Newitt

    Such an interesting account of the festive period in the war. It told me information that I've never known, I came away with some new knowledge and a new found gratitude for all we have at Christmas time. I'll definitely be reading this again next Christmas! Such an interesting account of the festive period in the war. It told me information that I've never known, I came away with some new knowledge and a new found gratitude for all we have at Christmas time. I'll definitely be reading this again next Christmas!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Interesting and informative. I enjoyed this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Lee

    Fascinating read. Christmas needs to go back to how it was then rather than the rampant consumerism we have now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mother of

    I was lucky enough to get this book before publication date, and read it in 2 days. It's fantastic. I loved every single story. I was lucky enough to get this book before publication date, and read it in 2 days. It's fantastic. I loved every single story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Interesting memories from children who grew up in wartime. Some were still at home, but suffering deprivations. Others had been evacuated to quieter parts of the country and their experiences varied a lot. Families in the country seemed to have access to better and more varied food, but some of those evacuees were very sad to be away from their parents and their brothers and sisters. Of course, Christmas was simpler in the 1940s. Expectations were lower than these days. Decorations were home-mad Interesting memories from children who grew up in wartime. Some were still at home, but suffering deprivations. Others had been evacuated to quieter parts of the country and their experiences varied a lot. Families in the country seemed to have access to better and more varied food, but some of those evacuees were very sad to be away from their parents and their brothers and sisters. Of course, Christmas was simpler in the 1940s. Expectations were lower than these days. Decorations were home-made, presents were smaller. But there seems to have been a lot of festive cheer which people made for themselves, unless that's just perhaps nostalgia kicking in. It certainly makes us realise how lucky we are to live in peace. The biggest worry most of us will have this year is how long the turkey will take to cook!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Charles Crouch

  22. 4 out of 5

    A.J.Goodman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer McCutcheon

  24. 5 out of 5

    J Mcelroy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Constance

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chiara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Fenton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fay

  30. 5 out of 5

    person121

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