Our Land at War: A Por­trait of Ru­ral Bri­tain 1939-45

By Duff Hart-Dav vis

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

(WWil­liam Collins, 464 pages, £20) TThis fas­ci­nat­ing so­cial his­tory boook looks at the lives of peo­ple livving in the Bri­tish coun­try­side du­ur­ing and im­me­di­ately af­ter thhe Se­cond World War.

The au­thor has drawn on di­iaries, let­ters, books, of­fi­cial reecords and in­ter­views to cre­ate a highly read­able and evoca­tive poor­trait of ru­ral life at a piv­otal pooint in time. Metic­u­lously re­searched,ese it de­scribes a va­ri­ety of ffac­tors that brought ir­ree­vo­ca­ble change to ru­ral ar­eas as a re­sult of the con­flict.

DDur­ing the war, there was a hugge in­flux of peo­ple into the cou­un­try­side in­clud­ing Land Gir­rls and Lum­ber Jills, pris­on­ers of war, Bri­tish sol­diers, AAmer­i­can GIs aand young ev­vac­uees from the cit­ties, all of whom hadd an im­pact on the llives of coun­try dwelllers. Large count­try houses were req­ui­si­itioned by the army, un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously evict­ing their gen­try own­ers.

Whole com­mu­ni­ties also had to give up their homes if they lived in an area ear­marked for mil­i­tary train­ing, such as at Slap­ton in Devon. Land, too, was com­man­deered for use as air­fields. Per­haps the great­est change was in farm­ing it­self, which was made more ef­fi­cient through ma­chin­ery, al­ter­ing the old way of life for­ever.

If your par­ents or grand­par­ents lived in ru­ral Bri­tain dur­ing the Se­cond World War, this book is es­sen­tial back­ground read­ing.

Michelle Higgs is an au­thor

spe­cial­is­ing in so­cial his­tory

and fam­ily his­tory

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.