by: Randy Harvey [ ]
As the bombs began to fall in September 1940, as homes were flattened and people emerged from cramped shelters and sleepless nights into barely recognizable streets, something unique happened – the Blitz Spirit was born. Witty and Uplifting, the voices and images here illustrate the bravery, patriotism and humor of the spirit that, with Churchill’s inspiration, got Britain through its darkest hour. ‘Never surrender!’
(from the back cover of the book)
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Blitz Spirit in its General Military series. It is a hardback book with 208 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations and detailed captions. The book covers several different areas and subjects associated with the England home front during World War Two.
‘We Shall Never Surrender’
The ‘Fourth Defence Service’
Things To Do In An Air Raid
Hands Across The Black-Out
Fitness For Liberty!
‘Their Finest Hour’
Air Raid Precautions For Animals
Manning The Home Guard
‘The Biggest And Best Air Raid Ever’
London’s Defiant Spirit
Halt, Advance, Deploy
‘Bad Nights, Worse Nights, And Better Nights’
‘We Could See Little Puffs Of Smoke’
How To Wear Your Gas Mask
The Bombardment Continues
‘If There Is A Bomb With Your Name On It…’
‘We Must Be Undaunted’
Showers Of Sparks And Burning Embers
All Hands To The Pump
East End Ablaze
The Ton Bomb
‘One Enormous Hole’
Coventry, 14 November 1940
Everything Seemed To Be Burning…
Bombed But Still Carrying On
Encountering The Enemy
‘We Shall Not Fail Or Falter’
‘A Very Large Fire Was In Progress’
‘We Shall Come Through'
Attack On Westminster
Home Security War Room Diary 11 may 1941
Night After Night After Night
‘When They Sound The Last All Clear’
Sources And Acknowledgements
The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of the England home front during World War II. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book which always a bonus to me. Mitchell has gone to great lengths to research England’s home front during World War II and provides a very well written and accurate history of the various details the English had to face. Anyone interested in a non-typical subject of World War II will find this book very informative and interesting. The chapters are specific to various subjects such as bombs, gas masks, air raid shelters and other such subjects. I like the shorter item specific chapters as they focus on one specific subject as opposed to lumping them all into longer larger chapters. In my opinion this helps keep the reader focused on the specific subject they are reading and also makes it easier to reference specific subjects.
There are a total of 28 black and white and 2 color photographs. Most of the photographs are well done, however several of them appear to be too dark, in my opinion. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused photographs that tend to turn up. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs. Most of the photographs will not help the military modeler but they will be of interest to the military historian.
There are a total of 37 black and white and 7 color illustrations throughout the book. The illustrations range from “cigarette cards”, propaganda posters, advertisements, basic fighting diagrams and instructional images. They are reprints from actual period illustrations and help set the mood of the time for the reader. As with the photographs the illustrations will not help the military modeler but they will be of interest to the military historian.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. My one complaint about the captions is the italicized style of font used as it can make the captions a little difficult to read.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It examines the WWII England home front very well very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
World War II Day by Day: An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945 by Donald Sommerville (Dorset Press);
WWII Time-Life Books: History of the Second World War, by the Editors of Time-Life Books, Foreword by Eric Sevareid (Prentice Hall Press);
World War II, by Ronald Heiferman (Octopus Books Limited);
The Second World War, by Martin Gilbert (Owl Books)
Thanks to Osprey Publishing, Ltd. for this review copy. Be sure to say you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.