Sometimes I’m amazed at the links between the books I’m reading. I read the following books by choosing them individually without realising that they all had similar themes. Recently I read One Fine Day
by Mollie Panter-Downes, set in England in 1946 just after the Second World War had ended. Then I read Playing with the Moon
by Eliza Graham set in 1943/4 up to the present day and now I’ve just started The Great Fortune
by Olivia Manning, set in Bucharest at the start of the War (currently I’m in the ‘Phoney War’ period. I’m also joining a local book group my friend goes to and the book for discussion is Surveillance
by Jonathan Raban. I picked up that book yesterday and started to read it. To my surprise, although it’s set in Seattle post 9/11 one of the characters, a journalist has been assigned to interview a historian, who had been ‘an orphaned child caught up in the worst barbarities of World War Two’, spending his boyhood ‘among the displaced and terrorized people of central Europe, overrun now by Hitler’s, now by Stalin’s armies’.
I didn’t plan on reading books about the War at all and it was quite by chance that it was near to Remembrance Sunday, but it all seems so appropriate. I decided I should know more about the War and so went to the library. There were so many books that I decided to get a couple of books specifically about D-Day as my father took part in the Normandy landings and also a huge book called Chronicle of the Second World War. I then went to a bookshop and was spoilt for choice with an enormous range of books to choose from. In the end I bought Wartime Britain 1939 – 1949 by Juliet Gardiner. Juliet was the editor of History Today for five years, a research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, author of several wartime books, and historical consultant for Channel 4’s The 1940s House and The Edwardian Country House. Thank you to Litlove who recommended this book. I thought it looked a good place to start.
So, I’ve now got lots to get me started on my search to know more about the War.