Although nearly 90% of the population of Great Britain remained civilians throughout the war, or for a large part of it, their story has so far largely gone untold. In contrast with the thousands of books on military operations, barely any have concerned themselves with the individual's experience. The problems of the ordinary family are barely ever mentioned - food rationing, clothes rationing, the black-out and air raids get little space, and everyday shortages almost none at all.
This book is an attempt to redress the balance; to tell the civilian's story largely through their own recollections and in their own words.
Norman Longmate served in the army in World War II, and then went to Oxford University in 1947 to read Modern History. He subsequently worked as a Fleet Street journalist, as a producer of history programmes for the BBC, and for the BBC Secretariat. In 1981 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and in 1983 he left the BBC to become a full-time writer. Norman Longmate is the author of more than twenty books, mainly on the Second World War and Victorian social history, and of many radio and television scripts on historical subjects. He has frequently been employed as an historical adviser by film and television companies, most recently on the series The 1940s House.