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About the book
  • Published: 31 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446434017
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 512
Categories:

Listening to Britain

Home Intelligence Reports on Britain's Finest Hour, May-September 1940




First publication of a unique resource that provides fascinating insight into the mood of the nation - at a crucial time in the Second World War when the conflict's outcome was far from certain

* From May to September 1940, during a period that saw some of the most dramatic events of the war - the evacuation from Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the opening stages of the Blitz - the Ministry of Information compiled daily reports on the morale of the nation for circulation within Whitehall.

* These reports make fascinating reading: they tell the story of people's hopes and fears - from rumours about German spies disguised as nuns to concerns about anti-Semitism in the heavily-bombed East End of London - in all regions of the country during Britain's Finest Hour - at a time when the fate of the nation hung in the balance.

* Drawing on a wide range of informants, from the Mass-Observation social survey organisation to a network of contacts including chief constables, postal censors, doctors, parsons, publicans and trade unionists, the reports pieced together from these sources at great speed were by their very nature impressionistic, but provide us nevertheless with a unique record of contemporary feelings and perceptions at this historic juncture.

* They include a wealth of curious and idiosyncratic information about the lighter and the darker aspects of life in Britain at the time, illuminating the prevalence of rumours and gossip about the threat of invasion - as well as the importance of the introduction of tea rationing for daily life.

* Edited and introduced by two leading historians of the period and published here for the first time to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the dramatic events that came to be known as Britain's Finest Hour, the complete and unabridged sequence of the daily Home Intelligence reports provides unique insight into the continuously unfolding drama of Britain at war.

  • Pub date: 31 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446434017
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 512
Categories:

About the Authors

Paul Addison

Paul Addison teaches history at the University of Edinburgh and is a former visiting Fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford. He is the author of Now the War is Over, a social history of post-war Britain which accompanied an acclaimed BBC television series; and Churchill on the Home Front, described by David Cannadine in the Observer as 'the best one-volume study of Churchill yet available'.

Jeremy A Crang

Paul Addison and Jeremy Crang work at the Centre for the Study of the Two World Wars at the University of Edinburgh. They are the editors of The Burning Blue (Pimlico, 2000) and Firestorm (Pimlico, 2006), collections of essays on the Battle of Britain and the Allied bombing of Dresden respectively.


Praise for Listening to Britain

“The historical value of this evidence is enormous”

Noel Malcolm, The Sunday Telegraph

“This invaluable book brings us history in real time. with its echo of voices of civilians now on the front line, Listening to Britain provides a matchless insight into the contradictory, confused and complex experience of living through Britain's "finest hour"”

Juliet Gardiner, Financial Times

“Digestible form with valuable contextual notes. There are many fleeting gems”

Observer

“This invaluable book brings us history in real time. With its echo of voices of civilians... Listening to Britain provides a matchless insight into the contradictory, confused and complex experience of living through Britain's "finest hour"”

Juliet Gardiner, Financial Times

“[The reports] offer an invaluable and unvarnished insight into thoughts and feelings about events without the benefit of hindsight... I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading non-fiction about the war or fiction set at this time”

Bookbag.co.uk

“Fascinating collection of reports”

Christoper Hirst, Independent


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