Virginia Nicholson: Millions Like Us Women's Lives During the Second World War



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To talk to my mum about some of the issues The sorrow and fear of the woman who sent their children away as Taxi ins Glück evacuees to the nurses who went to the front lines in North Africa and Europe Women did things that they never thought them selves capable of The make do and mend attitude which worked well during the war led to a sense of anticlimax in the peace An indebted broken Britain found it difficult to rebuild and deal with the shortages Many women went back to the role f housewife and mothers at thend of the war but many others would never be the same again The great reforms for women in the 1970 s began in the liberation of the war years but it was a long time coming if it has really got there yet Nic will njoy this read A rather sobering story about the women in Britain during the second world war with xamples from many different women through their diaries biographies and interviews with them now women from all parts of society and all parts of the country Their Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas experiences both similar and different give a vivid picture of some really hard and trying times It s not dramatic as war time stories usually are because their lives were seldom at the front their lot was to make theveryday life work and trying to take care of the jobs left by the men who had left for war and of course helping out in the army in many important ways The problems were many all the way from not being able to buy stockings which might sound like a silly problems but when working in offices that forbade women wearing trousers and the rationing of fabrics which made the skirts The Magic Rolling Pin even shorter during the war it really was a problem to being bombed ou This is a highly readable anecdotal account of British women sxperiences during World War II It s a worthy addition to the shelf of similar books but there s nothing new here in information or insight I saw this reviewed in the Guardian Weekly and knew immediately I wanted to read it I was not disappointed This is a book that can never be written again as it is based on in depth interviews with some 50 women who lived through WW 2 and its aftermath chronicling their heroically ordinary lives fears and thoughts over than 10 years For some it appeared to be the only time they had been able to talk honestly about their Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, experiences Virginia Nicholson s women weren t chosen randomly they were themselves writers and their contributions werentertaining and literate but were the millions like them I think so the range of xperience is huge from naive protected upperclass girls to the hard bitten and desperately poor and many of them did not ven take up writing till many years later The chapters are chronological and that makes sense of course It did give me a bit of a problem distinguishing the women s narratives though as they were necessarily chopped into short and interleaved reminiscences Though someone with better short term memory might not agree Some of the most searing moments occur in recollections that sounded almost throwaway but of course were not a nurse walking home in the blackout is called over to a bomb site where an unknown number of people are trapped She has to be lowered head first through a tiny gap to find someone hideously maimed and beyond hope Illions Like Us tells the story of how these women loved suffered laughed grieved and dared; how they re made their world in peacetime And how they would never be the same again 'Vividly ntertaining uplifting and humbling Millions Like Us deserves to be a bestseller' Bel Mooney The Daily Mail 'Passionate fascinating profoundly sympathetic' Artemis Cooper Evening Standard Virginia Nicholson was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and grew up in

This book was an xcellently written and njoyable study of the period I couldn t put it down I recommend it to anyone interested in women s lives I adore history particularly that which deals with women and Nicholson has presented her information so well in this book She states that she wanted to find out not only what the did in the war but what the war did to them and how it changed their subseuent lives and relationships Nicholson has focused upon a wealth of women from so many different walks of life merging history with biography and bringing some fascinating characters to the forefront of her work We meet through her words famous diarists like Nella Last and Mollie Panter Downes the privileged in society and novelists such as Nina Bawden and Barbara Cartland The chronological structure which Nicholson has adopted works so well as did the sectioning of information into short chapters all of which dealt with a different lement of wartime life for women from rationing to conscription LOVE LOVE LOVE Why do people not know about this book It s truly amazing I don t read very much nonfiction but this book makes me want to read It is shocking heartbreaking funny tragic uplifting terrifying and fascinating Nicholson brings together dozens of individual lives so different but all with one glaring thing in common They were the women of World War II They were factory workers nurses housewives code breakers clippies ambulance drivers mothers singers and air raid wardens Nicholson shows us how The Management Bible extraordinary ordinary women can be how they dreamed and feared and lived in the chaotic world of the Second World WarI bought this book at the wonderful WW2 museum in Caen It was the best museum I ve been to and I wanted something to remember it by I could have not made a better choice by buying this book I highly recommend it forveryone I found this a fascinating window into women s lives in WWII The author follows many women from a wide variety of social classes occupations and backgrounds through the war including the introduction of female conscription I found it hard to keep track of all the women and so didn t feel much connection to many but the overall picture of the changes demanded of women and how that did and didn t change society as a whole as well as what changed back after the war were very interestingly portrayed I also found the reality of their lives surprisingly different from how that period it is portrayed in the media today This was a fascinating book about the way lives of British women were transformed during the Second World War Left behind to run Zu schnell every think from families to bomb products and making aircraft Britain could not have done what she did without the use of millions of women while their men did the fighting They were involved in many roles from administration through to heavy industry andven gunnery in anti aircraft guns This very sympathetically and well written account of different women s live during the war shows that so much of societies norms where suspended for the duration The power drama and thrill of during useful things for the war Sleepless (Bird of Stone, effort gave women s lives a focus and meaning that they had never had before and would take many years to regain I wanted. In Millions Like Us Virginia Nicholson tells the story of the women's Second World War through a host of individual women'sxperiences We tend to see the Second World War as a man's war featuring Spitfire crews and brave deeds on the Normandy beaches But in conditions of Total War millions of women in the Services and on the Home Front demonstrated that they were cleverer broad minded and altogether complex than anyone had ver guessed

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Nd then be lowered again with a wad of chloroform to apply to the remains of the face having to say try to keep calm we re working to get you out This incident comes up again later in the book and it is interesting that Nicholson understood it to be a desperate life saving attempt while I read it as an impossible act of mercy that no one should be called on to perform Who is to say Either way war for these women was the sum of shocking numbing xperiences like that and probably xplains why many never spoke of it until they talked to NicholsonThe first person accounts like this are riveting Nicholson s transcribings to the 3rd person not so much She has a few too many descriptions of beautiful nurses falling for handsome and debonair surgeons and at times the Invisible (The Curse of Avalon effect reads like a bad second rate romance Oh yes there was a lot of sex during the war but there are only so many ways of describing it A very minor uibble though There is a good balance to this book thend of the war occurs just 23 of the way through leaving the rest devoted to the aftermath which after the initial Yummy Supper ecstatic celebrations for some was a let down for many Returning servicewomen were unprepared for the desperation of lives at home after the brilliant colours of Italyverything looks grey and shabby said one nurse So the Postwar period is at least as interesting to read about despite awareness at the start of the war that the old order of women s subservience was changing in the nd it didn t there was simply weary acceptance of a return to domestic life The contrast between the feeling in the arly years that women could do anything now and that the world would never be the same again with the Deep Listening end in 1945 when all anyone wanted to do was just stop working was very markedSomething I never really appreciated was that the rigid dress code of the times would not have been relaxedven under xtreme conditions The misery caused by the absolute rule on wearing stockings ven when unobtainable which was for most of the war was mentioned over and over No trousers allowed in the depths of winter and when stockings were unobtainable women resorted to drawing fake seams on bare legsOne thing I found a bit odd that symptoms of what we now call PTSD were never mentioned Many talked about the sudden lack of purpose with the Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature end of the war when the fear andxhilaration was suddenly turned off but that s not the same thing Yet PTSD must have been widespread I would have thought I wonder whether the unutterably grim conditions that prevailed in the UK after the war only gradually improving over about 10 years meant that there was no post the contrast between war and peace in fact not being that great A terrific book and its spirit could well be summed up with the words that Nicholson said she heard over and over You Just Got On With It Very good Well researched with many first hand accounts it s one of the best non fiction books I ve read about women on the Home Front in Britain during World War II This is awesome on audio It s something like a full cast production a narrator plus four other actresses who with different accents uote from the many diaries and memoirs the book draws on With these distinctive voices it s asy to recogn. Orkshire and Sussex She studied at Cambridge University and lived abroad in France and Italy then worked as a documentary researcher for BBC Television Her books include the acclaimed social history Among the Bohemians Experiments in Living 1900 1939 and Singled Out How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War both published by Penguin in 2002 and 2007 She is married to a writer has three children and lives in Suss.

VIRGINIA NICHOLSON was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1955 Her father was the art historian and writer uentin Bell acclaimed for his biography of his aunt Virginia Woolf Her mother Anne Olivier Bell edited the five volumes of Virginia Woolf’s DiariesVirginia grew up in the suburbs of Leeds but the family moved to Sussex when she was in her teens She was educated at Lewes Priory School Comp