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British Widows of the First World War (ePub)

The Forgotten Legion

Military P&S History > British History WWI Women of History

By Andrea Hetherington
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 3.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781473886780
Published: 16th April 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.

This is a fascinating and very interesting book on an overlooked aspect of the traumatic consequences of war.

The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

5 stars: Not emotionally the easiest subject, but an excellent, balanced, sensitive, treatment by an historian from whom I hope we will hear much more.

Wakefield Historical Society

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 provided research for BBC programming during the Centenary period and has acted as a consultant on several community projects on the conflict. Her publications include British Widows of the First World War: The Forgotten Legion.

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