Blood, toil, tears, sweat - and survival

5th May 1995 at 01:00
Lucia Raimbault surveys other books and plays about the war.

THE MACMILLAN DICTIONARY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR. By Elizabeth-Anne Wheal and Stephen Pope. Macmillan #163;25. 0 333 61936 6. A comprehensive guide to the Second World War. Detailed entries cover every military aspect of the war, from operations to weapons, tactics, personalities and strategies.

WINGED VICTORY. By Air Vice-Marshal J E "Johnnie" Johnson and Wing Commander P B "Laddie" Lucas. Stanley Paul #163;16.99. 0 09 178697 5. RAF pilots Johnson and Lucas offer highly personal narratives of World War Two,full of first-hand anecdotes.

AN END TO CHILDHOOD. By Miriam Akavia. Vallentine Mitchell #163;14.50. 0 85303 294 7. A fictional memoir, based on fact, recollecting the survival of two Polish teenagers (brother and sister) in Lvov. The boy's narrative reflects Miriam Akavia's own personal experiences of pain and courage.

THE HIDDEN CHILDREN. By Jane Marks. Bantam #163;5.99. 0 553 40936 0. Many Jewish children were separated from their families during the war, and as a result they were catapulted into adult life where they had to learn to fend for themselves. Twenty-three adult survivors recount their personal war memories, such as Kristine, who hid in the sewers of Lvov. Jane Marks successfully recaptures memories of the war.

SACRED GAMES. By Gerald Jacobs. Hamish Hamilton #163;16.99. 0 241 13462 5. The story of Mikl"s Hammer, a Hungarian Jew who survived the death camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau, until he assumed the identity of his dead English friend and was "repatriated" to Britain. The British Authorities, however, on learning about the deception, interned him in the Oratory School of Chelsea and Beltane School in Wimbledon, where the inmates included Dr Otto Dietrich, Hitler's Press Chief.

THE LONGMAN COMPANION TO NAZI GERMANY. By Tim Kirk. Longman #163;12.99. 0 582 06376 0. Factual and interpretive information about Germany and German society, culture and economy.

NAZI GERMANY AT WAR. By Martin Kitchen. Longman #163;12.99. 0 582 07387 1. A study of the German Home Front from the outbreak of the war to the fall of the Third Reich. It examines the impact the war had on the people of Nazi Germany, an unusual insight into the "enemy".

DOPPELGANGERS: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BODIES IN THE BERLIN BUNKER. By Hugh Thomas. Fourth Estate #163;17.99. 1 85702 212 2. Using forensic material previously unavailable from the Soviet archives, Hugh Thomas reconstructs the last days in the bunker for Hitler, Eva Braun and Goebbels' family. He also reveals how forensic fraud was perpetrated on the bodies of Hitler and the supposed Eva Braun in order to conceal the truth about their deaths. Thomas draws a fascinating, albeit a shaky, picture of the events leading to Hitler's endgame.

WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, AUNTIE? - THE BBC AT WAR 1939-45. By Tom Hickman. BBC Books #163;15.99. 0 563 37116 1. Archive material and first hand accounts, 50 years on, from people such as Lord Weidenfeld and Dame Vera Lynn describing what broadcasting in the war was really like. The book traces the development of radio during the war and the BBC's battles with Government and shows how radio brought hope into the homes of the British people.

I LIVED UNDER HITLER. By Sybil Bannister. Penguin #163;6.99. 0 14 024672 X. After marrying a German medical student Sybil Bannister moved to Danzig in 1939. Five days later her son Manny was born. In this moving account she recounts the gradual break-up of her marriage, her survival after being burnt by the firestorms of Wuppertal-Barmen, and life alone after the Gestapo took her son. Sybil was repatriated to England in 1945 and reunited with her son.

OXFORD COMPANION TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR. By I C B Dear and M R D Foot. Oxford University Press #163;30. 0 19 214168 6. Drawing on the expertise of 140 of the world's leading historians, this comprehensive book will answer all your questions on any aspect of World War ll. Its 1,200 pages cover every area of the conflict: individual campaigns, wartime leaders, weapons, politics, and strategies. The Companion also includes some surprising statistics, such as the Bevin boys: one in ten of all British men (aged 18-25) were chosen by ballot to serve in the British mining industry instead of in the armed forces. Full of maps, charts and diagrams,this book is a must for every library.

WHEN DADDY CAME HOME. By Barry Turner and Tony Rennell. Hutchinson #163;16.99. 0 0917 9143 X. The summer of 1945 not only brought about the end of the war, but it also reunited war-torn fathers with families who had survived for six years without them. In many cases children were to meet their father for the first time. Drawing on personal experiences of men and women, Turner and Rennell recreate the truth of this national social adjustment.

TEN DAYS IN MAY. By Russell Miller with Renate Miller. Michael Joseph #163;15.99. 0 7181 3929 1. VE Day was a milestone which represented the beginning of a new era for civilians and service men and women throughout Europe. Calling on first-hand interviews, diaries and memoirs, Ten Days in May records the celebrations, regrets and hopes for the future. Full of such vivid recollections, it is hard to remember that these events took place half a century ago.

THE VOICE OF WAR. By Victor Selwyn. Michael Joseph #163;14.99. 0 7181 3925 9. All the poems in this anthology were written while their authors were on active service. Both men and women felt compelled to write for the first time about their experiences. This collection of poetry is a testimony to their strength and courage.

LONDON AT WAR 1939-1945. By Philip Ziegler. Sinclair-Stevenson #163;20.1.85619 384 5. For six years London was subjected to constant aerial attack,and such horrors as the Blitz of 1940 and 1941. Philip Ziegler, mainly known as a biographer, paints a picture of a city under siege by using material such as unpublished letters, diaries and newspapers. We are thrown into the precarious and turbulent world of the left-wing retired schoolmaster from Walthamstow, the typist from Fulham and the plumber from Woolwich. It was their war as much as it was Churchill's.

London at War depicts a "home-front" which combined humour with spirit despite the austerity.

KNOTT - ARTY PRODUCTIONS are premiering Another Morning, Another Day by Ruth Gow, at the VE Day Gala Event, hosted by the Anne Frank Educational Trust at the RAF Museum in Hendon. The original score of the musical drama was inspired by the writings of Elie Wiesel and challenges our politically correct world, 50 years after the Holocaust. The international cast of north London school children enliven the production by bringing their own troubled experiences to the play. Contact Ruth Gow on 0171 607 7909.

BATTLE FOR BRITAIN is a play to commemorate VE Day written and performed by HNDBTEC students from Amersham and Wickham College.

The Man in the Moon Theatre, May 2-14 (0171 351 2876).

HIROSHIMA - NAGASAKI SCHOOLS' ANTI-WAR WRITING COMPETITION - KEY STAGES 3 AND 4 TEACHERS' RESOURCE PACK. By Richard Woolfenden. A comprehensive teaching aid to help students understand modern warfare. The resource pack draws on true accounts of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as including fictional narratives of life after a nuclear war. Full of photocopiable worksheets and creative exercises. For details of associated anti-war writing competition: 0181 534 3425.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today