Blythe, Ronald, ed.
Title PRIVATE WORDS: LETTERS AND DIARIES FROM THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
Publisher Viking, London, 1991, first edition.
Seller ID 23312
310 pp, large 8vo (9 7/16" H), hard cover in dust jacket. ISBN 0670832049 "The Second World War was, among other things, a great 'reading and writing' war. There was a passion for books of all kinds, and also a remarkable outpouring of personal w riting in the form of letters and diaries. The latter were actually forbidden in the services because they might fall into enemy hands, but this did not prevent them from being kept in startling quantities. The young especially, whether on t h e H o m e Front or fighting abroad, became extraordinary self-examiners and communicators, finding all kinds of outlets for what was happening to them in the shape of private records and correspondence. It was a time when people lived for let t er s, a n d wh en , since much of the war was spent in boredom by the average participant, reading became the perfect escape. The existence of a vast archive of Second World War personal literary expression has been well-known to historians, but i t h as not o ft en bee n used to reveal the significance of the 'reading and writing' culture of this period. Ronald Blythe has a deep understanding of those days and in this collection of letters and journals has revealed much of their heart a nd soul . Half of th e b ook is made up of the wartime writing of his friends; the other half has been drawn from the Department of Documents at the Imperial War Museum. This book is a personal statement that makes eloquent shifts from pain, desp air and de ath t o ab surd ity, lau ghter and bravery. It is a traveller's tale and a stay-at-home's tale. It is politically hopeful and romantic, and also down to earth. Read together, these confessions and descriptions from and to a Britain of nea rly h alf a cen tury ago c reate an a stonishing impact. We see a world holding itself together by language, by words, and with skill and determination. The 'tone' of those days is often quite unbearably caught, with force and eloquence. (T hey c reate) a m ultiple auto biogra phy of a uni que kind." Dust jacket has soft wrinkle at top edge of rear panel. Fine/Near Fine