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Barnsley at War 1939–45 (ePub)

Military P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History WWII World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside World History > UK & Ireland > Towns & Cities in World War Two

By Mark Green
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Your Towns & Cities in World War Two
File Size: 29.9 MB (.epub)
Pages: 198
Illustrations: 25
ISBN: 9781526721884
Published: 27th March 2019


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The ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ of 1918 was supposed to be the conclusion of the ‘war to end all wars’.

Just twenty-one years after the armistice was signed, Barnsley, its borough and the world braced itself for a global conflict that history would eventually testify to be deadlier than the war that destroyed a generation of Barnsley men and boys.

After the Great War, the famous market town stumbled into a new era that promised social change, including universal suffrage, economic and political stability and establishments of new international organisations such as the League of Nations to steer the masses. In reality, the town suffered in poverty, endured pit disasters, countless industrial deaths all the while still lamenting its lost generation, mercilessly butchered on The Somme.

The books narrative explains in detail Barnsley’s transition from its interwar years, to the euphoria of victory in 1945, supported by a timeline of national events that helped shape the town. It steers away from the common two-dimensional viewpoints some people had on the Home Front and the endless reusing of the same themes - ‘the Great British spirit’, Churchillian greatness, D-Day, Dunkirk and VE day. Although one cannot dismiss those remarkable qualities the town developed during the war, it also explores controversial topics such as social impacts, the rise in juvenile delinquency, misplaced optimism, increase in crime and the acceptance of the status quo by some members of the ruling council.

Indeed, Barnsley rose to the challenge as it did years earlier, women once again revealed their rightful place in society as equals, miners smashed productivity records, men and women took up arms in anticipation of invasion.

The Second World War had arguably the same impacts on Barnsley as the Great War, further local names etched on the memorials as a timeless reminder of the men, women and children who died or gave their life for their town, county and country. Never to be forgotten.

Featured as the BOOK OF THE MONTH

Chronicle Living, 18th & 26th April 2019

An exemplary and impressively presented history of a single but representative British community during the war years, "Barnsley at War 1939 - 45" is an extraordinary and exceptionally informative contribution to the growing library of World War II literature.

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Midwest Book Review

This series is appreciable because it leads us to know the cities from a point of view that few history buffs (military and non) know. The internal front, the ordinary stories of civilians and military connected to a given city, and in this case Barnsley (where the Pen & Sword Books is based!), assume today, in which we are losing many of the direct witnesses of that conflict terrible, an even greater importance that this kind of books enhance and make the general public understand.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

I am sure anybody from the region, or interested in researching the local history of that area, will find plenty of useful information about what was happening in the area, and also about what happened to the locals who were mobilised during the war. This would be a perfect present for relatives or friends who remember the era or are interested in it, and also for anybody wanting to become better acquainted with that period of UK history at a local level.

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Author Translator, Olga Nunez Miret

Fascinating insight into our local military history which is often overshadowed by the experience of WW1.

Read the full Twitter review here

Paul Reed via Twitter

The detailed and involving text is supported by a wealth of images in the form of photographs and maps. Many of these are rare images and include reproduction of adverts and posters. Barnsley rose to the challenges and the joy of Victory Celebrations completes the review. A book of special interest for the people of Barnsley and Yorkshire, but also a very valuable history for anyone interested in WWII and the social upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s.

Read the full review here


Article: 'Book shows how town changed' as featured by

Barnsley Chonicle (Chronicle Living), 15th March 2019 – words by Luke Watson

About Mark Green

Mark’s interest in writing was sparked once he started writing articles for his town’s local history magazine, Barnsley Memories. He became fascinated by the sacrifice the local fishermen of Boston made for their town, and was eagerly driven on by the enthusiasm of local Boston people willing to help with his research into this remarkable place and into what the community endured.

His personal interests are cycling, reading, history tours, researching local history and enjoying time with his two children.

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