London at War

Philip Ziegler, Author Alfred A. Knopf $30 (372p) ISBN 978-0-679-43298-2
Ziegler (Mountbatten) tells the epic story of the British capital's wartime ordeal largely through the words of contemporary Londoners. The dominating drama of this elegant narrative revolves around the German air raids, the underground culture of the bomb shelters and rescue crews where common purpose cut across class lines. Despite widespread death and destruction during the blitz and the threat of invasion, the plucky Londoners not only maintained business as usual but kept alive their cricket matches, held debutante balls and availed themselves of an extraordinary array of entertainment. Ziegler describes the arrival of American GIs along with dire predictions of their unruliness, the early impression being that ``U.S. forces were peopled entirely by short-tempered pugilists.'' Though he avoids sentimentalizing the Londoners' legendary indomitability, Ziegler's overall view is sympathetic and admiring. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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Hardcover - 978-0-517-17012-0
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