Experience…

Experience a small part of what Alan and our other veterans went through with our collection of films, books, tours and general resources. This is your chance to understand World War II and experience a unique time in our nation’s history.

Videos:

‘West End at War: The Ita Ekpenyon Story’:

The fascinating story of Ita Ekpenyon, a Nigerian Air-Raid Warden in Marylebone, London, As well as colour archive footage, Ita’s story is also a tale highly relevant to the I Am Britain project’s focus on British identity, especially during wartime. For a useful follow up to Ita’s story after the video’s release, see this blog.

The Battle of Britain’: An acclaimed PBS series with interviews with people on both sides of the war, with a dramatic soundtrack to boot. Watch part 1 (of 5) here.

UKTV Yesterday’s ‘Spirit of 1940’ collection: A series of short films and resources detailing the lives of British people during various moments of the period.

BBC’s World War II movies page: A site that collects a series of movies that tells the stories of some of the people caught up in its events. Contains videos for a wide range of events during the war.

Movies/TV:

Atonement’:

A chart-topper based on the Ian McEwan novel (see below), the two scenes based in the hospital and in Dunkirk are worth the entire film.

Hope and Glory’: John Boorman’s excellent portrayal of Blitz-era London is told through the eyes of 10-year-old Billy who watches the destruction created by the Blitz in a combination of horror and fascination. The sensitive portrayal, faithful account of the period and the ironic ending combine to make this one of the best Second World War movies.

Band of Brothers: A highly acclaimed ten-part TV miniseries that details the experiences of the American Easy Company based in Europe during the Second World War. Based on both interviews with real surviving Easy Company veterans as well as the Stephen E. Ambrose book of the same name.

Books:

Thomas Sanders – The Last Good War:

The Last Good War: A testimony of American veterans who fought in the second World War

Juliet Gardiner – The Blitz: The British Under Attack: Arguably the most acclaimed recent history of the Blitz, a thorough but readable account covering several aspects of the Blitz and its effects on the lives of ordinary people.

Ian McEwan – Atonement: A wartime romance novel that was turned into the blockbuster mentioned above. McEwan’s vast reading into the subject and his descriptions of the more heart-stopping moments of the war made this an instant bestseller and the 2007 film became one of the most popular of the decade.

The Exeter Blitz – David Rees: A children’s novel set in Exeter, Devon, ‘The Exeter Blitz’ revolves around the Lockwood family and the effect of the Blitz on their lives.

Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow: A dense, sprawling, baffling novel with references to everything from science (especially psychology and physics) to tarot cards on to wartime psychics and the nature of history. Despite the difficult nature of the novel, the first part, ‘Beyond The Zero’, contains some of the most haunting and beautiful descriptions of wartime London ever penned.

Richard Hillary – The Last Enemy: The autobiography of a Battle of Britain pilot, this famous account was lauded for Hillary’s storytelling skill and its author was hailed as an emblem of the “lost generation”.

Sarah Waters- The Night Watch: A brilliantly inventive novel that follows five people during and after the second World War, the novel follows five characters and their experiences as told backwards by Waters.

Stephen Bungay – The Most Dangerous Enemy: An exhaustively detailed account that elicited a lot of praise. For those who really wish to know the finer details of the Battle of Britain.

Lucilla Andrews – No Time For Romance: A heartbreaking account of Andrews’s time as a nurse during the Second World War during which she attended to patients from Dunkirk and the Blitz. The book was a large inspiration for novelist Ian McEwan’s bestselling novel, Atonement, which was made into a blockbuster movie of the same name starring Keira Knightley, mentioned above.

Miscellaneous:

BBC’s ‘The Blitz: Sorting the Myth from Reality: An interesting BBC webpage that takes stories from the people involved in the Blitz and challenges the conventional view of peoples’ behaviour during the period.

The BBC’s ‘Battle of Britain page: Rich in video resources, this page gives an overall insight into the Battle of Britain and its overall significance to the outcome of the Second World War.

Churchill War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum: A fascinating insight into the inner workings of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cabinet during the Blitz.

War and peace and the price of cat fish: The dairy of a South-West Londoner during the Blitz, updated almost daily to match the current date. A MUST READ for anyone.

Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience: A tour through what it was like during the Blitz, with immaculately preserved artefacts of wartime Britain.

BBC: Young people and children during World War 2: A very informative site detailing what children had to go through during the War. Includes activities parents can do with children to make them understand what their lives would have been like.

News reports from The Times archive: The Times preserved these reports of the Blitz and uploaded them on their website in their original format. The effect is a collection of moving and evocative accounts of the era.

Forgotten Voices: A wonderful resource that collects audio interviews of thousands of people who were involved in 20th century British wars. Website includes short extracts of people interviewed about the Battle of Britain and World War II generally. The books themselves are well worth buying or borrowing from your library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*




Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer