cover image After the War Was Over: A Boy's Own Story

After the War Was Over: A Boy's Own Story

Michael Foreman. Arcade Publishing, $18.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-329-1

Continuing the illustrated memoirs of childhood begun in his glowing War Boy (1990), Foreman casts his artistic vision on the years following WWII. A boy in an English coastal village, he thrills to the victory bonfires (""the embers remained hot enough for days to bake potatoes""), finds it a ""shock"" to have men as teachers at school and envies a friend who lives in an ex-Army hut ""with its great curved iron roof like an aircraft hangar."" The volume follows Foreman through his student years and his awakening to artistic pursuits, ending when he is 16 or 17, in his second year in art school and receiving his first kiss. Lavishing each spread with his lithe, limber watercolors, he creates an intimate album, full of glimpses of family and friends, episodes recorded with a natural affinity for the telling detail. His personal account is marinated in perceptions of postwar recovery and national pastimes: there are football heroes and matinee idols, teddy boys and the 1951 Festival of Britain. The writing moves at a leisurely pace but the impact is immediate. A book to be savored equally by those who share Foreman's memories and those experiencing the coming-of-age discoveries he illuminates with such generosity and humor. All ages. (May)