For the nine months of the Blitz, London was subjected to a brutal and indiscriminate bombing campaign, aimed for the first time in history at shattering the resolve of a nation. The Nazi raids on night-time London provide some of the defining narratives of World War II: the 'blitz spirit', air raid shelters in Underground stations and all the horrifying reality of one of the world's most powerful and historic cities under violent attack. This book tells the epic story of a London under siege through the voices of those that lived it. Amy Helen Bell here uncovers the personal stories of hundreds of Londoners from all walks of life, who scribbled in diaries and notebooks from inside air raid shelters and bombed-out houses to record their experiences of the Blitz. Expertly weaving these together, drawing out themes of loss, courage and love, what emerges is a thoughtfully argued and beautifully composed commentary on Britain's collective memory of one of the great conflicts of modern times.
By letting the warmth, despair and hope of these personal recollections speak, 'London Was Ours' becomes a collective testament to the resilience of a people and a meditation on the nature of a nation's history.
Amy Helen Bell is Associate 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.