photo credit: Imperial War Museum
my favorite photo: a RAF pilot reading
John Buchan’s Greenmantle while getting a haircut
(I see the book, my son sees the Spitfire!)
Sniffing around our public library, I found The Second World War in Color a companion book to a documentary by the same name. Initially, I thought I’d just flip through the book and return it to the library. The pictures, however, were compelling. Respect demanded more than a flip-through. Then the diary entries hooked me; soon I started on the title page and read through the book.
As in this blog entry, the photographs and the diary entries in the book have no relation to one another.
The diary entries and official announcements come from combatants and civilians from most of the nations involved in WWII. A Russian surgeon writes:
A British pilot, killed on his first flight:
The notes of Theodor Morell (condensed here), Adolf Hitler’s personal physician on 20.7.44, the day of the explosion set by Lt. Col. von Stauffenberg which killed four officers, interested me so soon after watching the movie Valkyrie. Hitler went on the radio later explaning that his survival was ‘a confirmation of my assignment from Providence to carry on my life’s goal as I have done hitherto’.
Blister, burns, contusions, open flesh wounds
Ivor Rowberry’s letter to his mother, written in the event of his death, won the Best Letter Written by a Member of the Armed Forces during the Second World War contest. Oh. My. Heart. Yet the wry humor about grammatical tenses! It begins:
Usually when I write a letter it is very much overdue, and I make every effort to get it away quickly. This letter, however, is different. It is a letter that I hoped you would never recieve, as it is verification of that terse, black-edged card which you received some time ago, and which has caused you so much grief. It is because of this grief that I wrote this letter, and by the time you have finished reading it I hope that it has done some good, and that I have not written it in vain. It is very difficult to write now of future things in the past tense, so I am returning to the present.
I particularly liked the glimpse of community (perhaps membership, à la Wendell Berry…in microcosm?) between British liberator and the liberated people of Belgium in this letter dated 9-29-1944
Because of this book, I learned of the Imperial War Museum Collections, another place to visit if I ever make it to London.
Really puts more of a face on the war…. instead of remembering all the icky stuff.Here’s a link to my nephew’s blog, which near the end of this entry mentions that he’s on pg ? of War and Peace :)Please add him to your prayer list. He’ll be in Baghdad until July. Thank you.http://morganjordan.blogspot.com/2009/01/iraq-week-9.html
The Imperial War Museum is a must-see!! We easily spent a full day there–initially thinking we were going only to see the airplanes–we lost ourselves in the amazing displays of daily life during the war.This post makes me want to find a book of WWII letters.
Reminisce Books put out a book called The Victory Era in Color! [sic] which I’ve enjoyed very much (got it cheap through E-bay). It doesn’t sound as meaty as your book, but it is amazing to see the events and people in color when our minds often think of that era in black and white images.Yes, the Imperial War Museum has to be one of our “must see” places if we ever go back to England again. (We went in 2001 for our 20th aniversary.)
Great review! I’m intrigued by the snippets you posted, as well as the pictures.I posted your review here on War Through the Generations.
Wow, these photos are amazing. And to think, I was IN London years ago and didn’t even know about this museum. I can’t believe I missed it!