"London was ours from the hour the blacked-out night hid its beauty until the morning siren signalled the coming day." - Joan Bright Astley. The German bombing raids on London from September 1940 to May 1941 - the London Blitz - supply us with some of the most dramatic and mythologised stories from the Home Front of the Second World War. But often overlooked in historical studies of the Blitz are the narratives supplied by Londoners themselves. In shelters, in kitchens and in offices, they wrote about their daily lives under duress, scribbling into diaries, notebooks and on the backs of envelopes. "London was Ours" analyses over two hundred letters, diaries and memoirs written by those citizens who endured the Blitz, restoring the forgotten voices of ordinary individuals to the collective memory of the Blitz and World War II. Their writings reveal widely varying points of view, often at odds with official wartime narratives and subsequent histories, making this a vital contribution to the social history of wartime Britain.
Amy Bell is Assistant Professor of History at Huron University College in Canada. She was born in New Brunswick and received her PhD from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Her area of research is the civilian experience in wartime Britain, on which she has lectured and written extensively.