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Life of a Teenager in Wartime London (ePub)

WWII London Social History

By Duncan Leatherdale, Foreword by Glennis Leatherdale
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 10.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 164
ISBN: 9781473894983
eBook Released: 8th November 2017

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As featured by the Durham Advertiser, Darlington and Stockton Times and the Telegraph & ArgusFormer Northern Echo from Bishop Auckland writes first book inspired by grandmother's wartime diary

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Life in wartime London evokes images of the Blitz, of air-raid shelters and rationing, of billeted soldiers and evacuated children. These are familiar, collective memories of what life was like in wartime London, yet there remains an often neglected area of our social history: what was life like for teenagers and young people living in London during the Second World War?

While children were evacuated and many of their friends and family went to fight, there were many who stayed at home despite the daily threat of air raids and invasion. How did those left behind live, work and play in the nation's capital between 1939 and 1945? Using the diary entries of nineteen-year-old trainee physiotherapist Glennis 'Bunty' Leatherdale, along with other contemporary accounts, Life of a Teenager in Wartime London is a window into the life of a young person finding their way in the world. It shows how young people can cope no matter the dangers they face, be it from bombs or boys, dances or death.

Interview feature and review as featured in

The book is full of well-researched facts and statistics and provides a different insight into what is admittedly an already well-known subject. The British Home Front is such a familiar period of history that it can sometimes seem that there is little left to write about. But by focusing on teenagers, Leatherdale has filled a demographic gap that is not always apparent.

Using Bunty’s and other teenagers’ testimonies, it becomes clear that wartime adolescents were just as consumed by confusing dilemmas as they are today but were further burdened by a heightened sense of danger. Despite the other testimonies, Bunty remains centre stage throughout the book, and her diary entries are a unique insight into one young woman’s war.

Bunty claims in the foreword, “When I read it now I can’t help but think how foolish I sounded.” Nevertheless, Bunty’s self-deprecation does her entries a disservice. Walter Scott once wrote that a diary is “dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who
treasures it.” Duncan Leatherdale himself rightly became “engrossed” by his grandmother’s words and has expanded on her story in an engaging style to produce a book that is fittingly accessible to a teenage audience.

History of War, issue 52 - by Tom Garner

Written in a relaxed style which makes it difficult to put down, and is suitable as a work of reference as well as to satisfy general interest.

WDYTYA? February 2018 – reviewed by Paul Conner, France (reader review)

As featured in

Teesdale Mercury

As featured in

Telegraph & Argus

As featured in

Darlington and Stockton Times (County Durham)

As featured in

The Advertiser (Durham)

As featured in

The Advertiser (Wear Valley)

As featured in

Durham Times

As featured in

Northern Echo

About Duncan Leatherdale

Duncan is an experienced newspaper and online journalist working in the North East of England. He has a degree in Journalism with English Literature from the University of Sunderland and had been working for the regional press for seven years before joining the BBC in August 2014. 'Life of a Teenager in Wartime London' is his first book.


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