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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Very good dust jacket - with one small tape repair. Binding: Hardcover / Publisher: Knopf Pub. / Pub. Date: 1995 Attributes: viii, 372 p., [32] p. of plates ill., maps 25 cm. / Illustrations: B&W Photographs Stock#: 2042853 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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London At War Hardcover – May 10, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st American ed edition (May 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679432981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679432982
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ziegler (Mountbatten) tells the epic story of the British capital's wartime ordeal largely through the words of contemporary Londoners. The dominating drama of this elegant narrative revolves around the German air raids, the underground culture of the bomb shelters and rescue crews where common purpose cut across class lines. Despite widespread death and destruction during the blitz and the threat of invasion, the plucky Londoners not only maintained business as usual but kept alive their cricket matches, held debutante balls and availed themselves of an extraordinary array of entertainment. Ziegler describes the arrival of American GIs along with dire predictions of their unruliness, the early impression being that "U.S. forces were peopled entirely by short-tempered pugilists." Though he avoids sentimentalizing the Londoners' legendary indomitability, Ziegler's overall view is sympathetic and admiring. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Biographer Ziegler's (King Edward VIII, LJ 1/91) contribution to the literary observation of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II is this lively account of everyday life in London during the war years. He moves entertainingly through prewar skepticism, the building of shelters, the short-lived evacuation of children, the Blitz, rocket missiles, and victory at last. Shelter life, cinema, museums, opera and theater, the homeless (one out of every six Londoners, at one time another)?all are described, largely in the words of those who were there as recorded in letters, diaries, and personal interviews. Ziegler evenhandedly reports both problems and triumphs. Not essential but evocative, readable, and a good choice for general collections.?Nancy C. Cridland, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Zeigler has managed to give a real sense of what it must have been like to be in London during the war years. Zeigler takes the tactic of examining history as the impact of events upon the people of London -- the growing clouds of war, the first alerts, the lulls, the bombing, the terror and the courage of a people determined to keep their community, their great city, alive. He describes the slow acclimatising toward austerity of which not all wanted to participate; particularly in the lull between the declaration of war (in which there seemed to be little impact on the London scene save rising prices and product scarcity) and the beginning of bombing (at which time the population rallied much more completely).
'On 24 August (1940) the first bombs fell on central London, starting fires in the East End. Probably the bombing was accidental, but retaliatory raids on Berlin made it inevitable that the process, once started, would escalate dramatically.' The rallying effort to build the community was great, such that 'by February 1941, it was estimated that 92 per cent of London's population could be accommodated in public or private shelters.'
At the end of the war, the preparations of the rationing ministries and the police to keep civil order were almost as detailed and daunting as D-Day; the demand for material (flags) and food for celebrations required a reaffirmation of ration regulations; London and the rest of Britain would still remain on rations for years after the war. Even ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament would be scaled down due to the unreadiness of transport or lack of men and material.
Zeigler regrets that human nature reverted back to norm and the community spirit built up during the war quickly disintegrated after the war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ziegler has managed to give a real sense of what it must have been like to be in London during the war years. Ziegler takes the tactic of examining history as the impact of events upon the people of London -- the growing clouds of war, the first alerts, the lulls, the bombing, the terror and the courage of a people determined to keep their community, their great city, alive. He describes the slow acclimatising toward austerity of which not all wanted to participate; particularly in the lull between the declaration of war (in which there seemed to be little impact on the London scene save rising prices and product scarcity) and the beginning of bombing (at which time the population rallied much more completely).

'On 24 August (1940) the first bombs fell on central London, starting fires in the East End. Probably the bombing was accidental, but retaliatory raids on Berlin made it inevitable that the process, once started, would escalate dramatically.' The rallying effort to build the community was great, such that 'by February 1941, it was estimated that 92 per cent of London's population could be accommodated in public or private shelters.'

At the end of the war, the preparations of the rationing ministries and the police to keep civil order were almost as detailed and daunting as D-Day; the demand for material (flags) and food for celebrations required a reaffirmation of ration regulations; London and the rest of Britain would still remain on rations for years after the war. Even ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament would be scaled down due to the unreadiness of transport or lack of men and material.

Ziegler regrets that human nature reverted back to norm and the community spirit built up during the war quickly disintegrated after the war.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary Knoke on February 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author provides a comprehensive history of London in World War II, drawing on many diaries and other contemporary accounts. Readers will recognize not only London landmarks and neighborhoods, but also famous people who lived in London during the war, including George Orwell and H.G. Wells. The book is filled with anecdotes: my favorite is about Mr. Frederick Leighton-Morris, who "...removed a 50kg bomb from his flat in Jermyn Street and tottered down the pavement with it." (He was fined 100 pounds by a magistrate, who told Leighton-Morris he could not decide "in which part of London a delayed action bomb should go off."
Here, too, are vignettes of Londoners sheltering in the Tube, growing vegetables in allotments in Hyde Park, raising pigs in basements, and finding food for their dogs despite rationing. This book is an excellent companion to Maureen Weller's book on the last year of the war in London (1945). If you read both, read this one first (not second, as I did). That way at least, chronology is served. There is very little if any duplication in the two books: both are superb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Poisson on January 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this as a gift for someone that enjoys reading about WW2 from other countries perspective. The recipient was pleased with it after reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
The real story of London during World War II. Ziegler goes beyond the myths to tell the whole story, warts and all. Full of interesting anecdotes and recollections that illustrate the challenges and stresses of living in London during those fateful years.
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