Biblio 411: Britain at War, 1939 to 1945 by James Lingard

 Author: James Lingard
Release Date: November 4th, 2008
Published by: Authorhouse
Read: March 31, 2015
The Hook: Britain during the WWII

I received a copy of this book from the author, through LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest review.

As as student of European History, you can see why this appealed to me. And I received this copy during my studies of Western Civilization so this was bonus material for me.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Before I get into it, let me be clear that I did not read this book to fact check. I read this book to gain insight to what life was like in Europe, and in this case Britain, during the war. It was before my time, you see, and I am curious enough to want to have an idea of what it may have been like. I have an idea of how WWII impacted Hawaii, but this is Europe. And it is in this sense that Lingard has offered a valuable perspective.

I like the way the book is organized. It’s a timeline of events, but it’s in a format I like and understand. Chapter 1 being about pre-war life, Chapter 18 about the victory, and everything in between. It’s easy to follow which makes it easy to tag reference points–an item of importance to those of us who love to take notes. We do a lot of that so we can reread things, process things, and eventually form our opinion of things, backed by the evidence we’ve tagged and noted.

I also like that this accounting of events are told from the perspective of someone who actually experienced events. I’ve heard some accounts of WWII in Hawaii from my grandmother and I love those stories because it’s coming from someone who actually witnessed the aftermath. It’s the same feel with this book. As mentioned in the first line of the introduction:

As far as possible, this history of the Second World War is written from the standpoint of people actually involved.

And if you didn’t know, that’s a historian’s weakness. We’re a sucker for primary resources and this book can be put into that category. It’s first witness account of the chain of events that is World War II.

The flow of information reads like a journal, which I love. The text doesn’t get too heavy where you need to reread a paragraph a few times to process it correctly. Lingard has also taken what can be a dense subject and presents it in a way that the reader can easily grasp the idea of what it may have been like during this period in time.

In my opinion, Lingard accomplishes what he set out to do: to give the reader an idea of what living in Britain was like during the Second World War. He covers the progression of the war throughout Europe and told from the perspective of a Britain resident. This knowledge, coupled with my recent studies of Western Civilization, has provided a well-rounded perspective of WWII history. History isn’t just about the events that happened, but the impact those events had on the people, on society. I feel history can never be complete unless we see it through the eyes of those it affected, which Lingard does a great job with.

Overall, I’m glad to have this book in my library and would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn anything about history, especially what life during WWII may have been like. Thank you, James, for providing this perspective.


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