A priceless collation and an insight like nothing else. Never more timely or poignant, these writers have no time for clichés or platitudes, only an urgency to tell it like it is. Humour, despair, confusion, hope - humanity laid bare, unique and universal.
What happened, when did it happen, why did it happen - are all questions historians deal with daily as they look backwards at events. But the glory of the Mass Observation archive is that the writers are looking forward. Is Churchill a hero or a villain? Are the Germans capable of bombing London? And who is that woman - or is it a man? - being propositioned in the blackout? The Mass Observation diarists record it all as they see it, and history is made anew in front of our eyes.
Brown's book features an eclectic selection from the wartime years and is full of fascinating and sometimes surprising insights.
A brilliant new compendium of extracts from wartime diaries.
In September 1944, looking back on the previous five years, a laboratory technician from Potters Bar declares that his "main feeling is one of awe at the huge panorama of events which we have lived through". Brown has cleverly captured exactly this in this delightful book, and the result is a tonic.
One for the Christmas gift list.
Makes for very entertaining reading.
Finally, a book that is proving very therapeutic in these difficult times. Blitz Spirit, compiled by Becky Brown, is a lovingly assembled collage of extracts from Mass Observation diaries written during the Second World War. Full of doubt, fear, anger and rueful comedy, they give the lie to the idea that the Brits maintained a stiff upper lip, but it's immensely consoling to know that our forebears sometimes thought that they were living through the end times but survived to enjoy better and brighter days.