This week our lovely Vintage Librarian, Claire Pursglove, is reviewing a moving book on the Blitz that retells the story of the war from the perspectives of those who experienced it first-hand.

Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain – Joshua Levine

Ebury Press, £7.99

What with the VE Day anniversary having just come to pass for another year, it seems a good time to look at a brilliant book that covers the wartime era. The Forgotten Voices series produces astonishing and fascinating books around the audio archives of the Imperial War Museum.

In this book, Joshua Levine has compiled a compelling account of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, seen through the eyes of those who were there. Moving testimonies bring to life recollections of the Dunkirk evacuation, daily life living with the ever-present threat of Nazi invasion, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

Contributions have come from pilots, engineers, civilians, and a host of workers who all contributed to the war effort. It is truly fascinating to see so many stories in one volume, especially as they cover so many facets of the war effort, such as the Home Guard, firemen and bomb disposal.

Many had their own personal losses to contend with, alongside the overall devastation that shattered Britain during this turbulent time. The recollections of the pilots from both sides of the Battle of Britain are easily the most engrossing element; many of the entries are so detailed you can almost picture yourself in flight with them.

The format of the book, almost diary-like with short extracts from contributors on each topic, means that (despite the weighty subject) it’s easy to digest. For anyone looking to get a taste of the courage, sacrifice and overall ‘Blitz spirit’ of the British people during this time, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

2 Responses

  1. Rebecka

    Should you be tempted to listen to such stories yourself, anyone can visit the Imperial War Museum and access their collections, as after the 21st May they will open thier Explore History Centre, where members of the public can drop-in and access the museums huge collections (see

  2. Peter

    Remarkable stories all well put together. Anyone any information on the cover photograph showing pilots in front of a hurricane?