Saturday, February 28, 2015
What I'm Reading in 2015, February: The 1940's House
I know people are just waiting with baited breath to see what book I'm reviewing this month ;).
Well,this month's selection is...
The 1940's House by Juliet Gardiner.
The 1940's house is actually a companion book to the PBS special that aired back in, I think it was 2000 (actually mine is an ex-library copy which I thought was kind of neat). A real life family was taken out of their modern lifestyle, planted in a house that had been recreated in the late 1930's down to every detail and then the family was thrown into the world of the outbreak of WWII through V-E Day. They lived out everything in that period of time condensed down into a 9 week stay in the 1940's House. That meant dealing with things like washing laundry by hand, dealing with rationing and dealing with being hungry, working and volunteering outside the home (as women were expected to do during those times), dealing with black out and all the while having to run out to a bomb shelter in the back yard when "air raid" sirens started blaring through the house.
Oddly enough I read the companion book to this series before I even saw it. I ran across the book when researching rationing during WWI and WWII and ordered it, intrigued. After I received the book I realized that it was actually a series and really wanted to see it after reading the book.
I found that the series isn't easy to find as it is so old now that it no longer exists on You Tube or obvious sources (my best guess, although things like the 1900 House you can still find easily...go figure), so it took a while to find a place where I could watch it. I've now both seen the series in it's entirety and read the book and I have to say that I really enjoyed the book more.
Not that I didn't enjoy the series, but the book goes into so much more detail. It goes into the history of what actually happened during WWII in the civilian world, especially in Britain (where the 1940's House was filmed) and also goes into way more detail about things the modern family in the series experienced and lived during their nine week stay in the past.
You really come away, after reading the book and watching the series, with a sense of gratitude for what we have today and that we haven't had a war like WWII since it occurred. The amount of shortages worldwide, the loss of life involved, the sheer scope of what happened...it really hits home when you read something like this and really does make you realize how lucky we are today. That we have a roof over our head that isn't in danger from bombs dropping 24/7. That we haven't had to live hungry for five years straight during a war and that our food hasn't had to be rationed for longer than that (rationing in Britain wasn't over until the mid 50's).
I've really become kind of a social history nut for WWII and really have found a major sense of pride in my side of the species on what women did during those dark times to make the home fires continue burning.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is the least bit interested in this period in history. Very good read and lots of great information.