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British Widows of the First World War (Kindle)

The Forgotten Legion

WWI British History Women of History Military

By Andrea Hetherington
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 6.7 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781473886773
eBook Released: 6th June 2018


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British Widows of the First World War is the first major account of the experience of women who had to cope with the death of their husbands during the conflict and then rebuild their lives. It explores each stage of their bereavement, from the shock of receiving the news that their husband had been killed, through grief and mourning to the practical issues of compensation and a widow's pension. The way in which the state and society treated the widows during this process is a vital theme running through the book as it reveals in vivid detail how the bureaucracy of war helped and hindered them as they sought to come to terms with their loss. Andrea Hetherington also describes often overlooked aspects of bereavement, and she features many telling first-hand accounts from the widows themselves which show how they saw their situation and how they reacted to it. Her study gives us a fascinating insight into the way in which the armed services and the government regarded war widows during the early years of the twentieth century.

A well researched addition to the historiography of the Great War - of particular interest to social historians - on an aspect of war upon which few dwell on today.

Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association

From this account, the reader will gain an insight into the various stages of bereavement from news of death to the award of a pension. In addition it will become apparent how the State and society treated the women as they strove to overcome their loss. You will discover overlooked aspects of war time bereavement which included adopting spiritualism, claiming pensions when husbands were executed or committed suicide and reactions when a widow's perceived behaviour was inappropriate.

Essex Family History Society

Editor's Choice

This is a fascinating and well written study and one we feel deserves a wide readership. Too often we lose sight of the 'others' who suffer through war and this book starts to redress the balance with just the right tone. If you want to add one book to your bookshelf this Summer which deals with an aspect of the war seldom, if ever, covered then let it be this one.

A must-have book. 10/10

The Great War magazine, July 2018

As featured by

Antiques Diary, July-August 2018

Listed under 'Books of the Month'

Let's Talk, June 2018

I found it to be an in-depth study of the difficulties these women faced, with some interesting first-hand accounts. It is also a touching journey into their emotional experiences, as you are invited to witness the pain they were feeling - a pain that society encouraged them to suppress.

This is a well-written book that left me with the belief that these brave women should be commended for their strength as they struggled to survive in postwar Britain.

WDYTYA?, July 2018 - reader review by Nicola Metcale

About Andrea Hetherington

Andrea Hetherington is an independent researcher and writer with a particular interest in the social history of the First World War. She has acted as a consultant to a number of Heritage Lottery funded projects on the war in Yorkshire and is a regular speaker at events throughout the region. Her publications include ‘“Any little article I would be pleased to have”: The Experience of British Widows of the First World War’ in Britain Goes to War edited by Peter Liddle and The History of Procter Brothers Ltd.

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