Historians of nursing in Britain have long been fighting for a place in the history of medicine. For example, of the 718 pages of text in Roy Porter’s best-selling The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, only five are concerned with nursing, and these, inevitably, with Florence Nightingale and 19th-century hospital reform.
Barbara Hately-Broad’s purpose is to insert the neglected subject of British prisoner-of-war (POW) families into the history of army, navy and air force families during the Second World War, a subject that is itself rather thinly tackled by historians.
With a few exceptions, the history of shell shock in Britain has focused primarily on doctors’ and patients’ responses to mental trauma during wartime.(1) In particular, scholars of psychological trauma have investigated doctors’ dilemmas in diagnosing shell shock, wartime debates over restoring individual health versus military needs, and the ‘crisis of masculinity’ t
In the last thirty years, in reaction to a predominantly white, Western and metropole-biased discourse of the Second World War based solely on the 'official' record, there have emerged a growing number of historians who have sought to redress this imbalance by documenting the experiences of colonial men and women in that conflict, utilising oral history in an attempt to give voices to these 'vo
The First World War was a terrible experience that most soldiers were shocked by once they became active participants. How were soldiers’ able to cope with the grim realities of this war? How were they able to keep going in spite of losing close friends and comrades in one battle after another?
One would naturally expect the two books under review, one a history published by an academic press and the other a novel, to be very different treatments of their chosen theme. Yet it is the similarities between them that consistently strike the reader.
Anybody remotely involved in ‘Churchill Studies’ or even interested in the great man to the extent of reading books by him or on him must have encountered references in the footnotes to the considerable amount of written material which he left. A large part is now deposited at the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge – and available to the public.
Rachel Duffett has written a fine social history of British rank and file soldiers, or rankers, and their experiences of food during the Great War. She states, ‘The ranker’s relationship with food was a constant thread, woven throughout his army experience … every day, wherever he was, a man needed to eat’ (p. 229).
In this fine monograph, based almost entirely on his PhD thesis, David Monger assesses the propaganda activities of the National War Aims Committee (NWAC) during the First World War, a focus which has already been supplemented by a number of journal articles in the last few years, relating to propaganda, and civilian and servicemen's morale during this period.
‘It is astonishing’, states Panikos Panayi in the opening sentence of his monograph, ‘that almost a century after the outbreak of the First World War, no academic study has yet appeared upon the experiences of German prisoners of war in Britain’ (p. 1).