Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nella Last's War

After my Make Do and Mend post, I did a bit of book shopping -- mostly cook books and how-to manuals by The Daily Telegraph, but I also picked up a few war chronicles written by every-day people who lived through World War II.

During the war, a few people wrote for the Mass Observation Project. The idea was to capture and chronicle the war's effect on the general population. Nella Last kept a diary for the Project from from 1939 until 1965, and it's a real gem. A few years ago, her diary was turned into a book -- Nella Last's War. And it's fascinating!

If you like a good read, I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

Reading war stories make me sad (although some stories can be inspirational if they're about the triumph of the human spirit over the brutalities of war), and I tend to be a depressive, so I stay away from them. :}

gracefruit said...

I don't think this one would make you sad. It's a first-hand account of a housewife dealing with keeping her family together during a rough time in history. It's quite uplifting. She had no idea she'd ever be published, and didn't consider herself a writer. She's fabulous, though. I'm anxious to read the second part of her diaries -- Nella Last's Peace.

Anonymous said...

I think that is so cool that her diaries got published! That'd be quite a dream come true for most of us who write (although I'm not sure I want anyone to get a hold of my teenage diary...LOL!). I'll definitely give it a try; thanks for the recommendation!

charlie said...

I will look out for this next time I'm in the UK. My dad loves telling stories about when he was a boy during the war.
At the moment I'm re-reading the Outlander series and have a hankering to visit Scotland, which I've never managed to do!

gracefruit said...

I don't want to give too much away, but you can really see the roots of feminism setting in with women at this time in history. In a lot of ways, the war was very liberating for them.

Charlie, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. I'm sure you can get a copy from Amazon.

Heidi said...

That sounds like a great read...thanks for the recomendation. I love books displaying the human will to survive and what people are capable of in the face of difficulty.

I was thinking about looking for books like this from the depression. The depression and WW2 hit so close to each other and required people to be frugal and creative. I'll see my great aunts this week who grew up in Brooklyn during the depression...they have some great stories.

After those 2 difficult decades its no wonder the 50's turned the corner to mass consumerism.

gracefruit said...

Mrs Last lived through the Depression, WW1 and WW2. She must have felt quite put upon!

Heidi, do you watch Mad Men? It gets into some of the of pandering to the consumptive society of the early 60s. It's a great show!

Heidi said...

I've seen something about Mad Men, but we don't have tv so I'll see if I can find it on line. Sounds interestin!