War's Forgotten Women: British Widows of the Second World War by Maureen Shaw & Helen D. Millgate
Synopsis (Scroll down for Review)
The Second World War widows were the 'forgotten women', largely ignored by the government and the majority of the population. The men who died in the service of their country were rightly honoured, but the widows and orphans they left behind were soon forgotten. During the war and afterwards in post-war austerity Britain their lives were particularly bleak. The meagre pensions they were given were taxed at the highest rate and gave them barely enough to keep body and soul together, let alone look after their children. Through their diaries, letters and personal interviews we are given an insight into post-war Britain that is a moving testament to the will to survive of a generation of women. War's Forgotten Women is a moving testament to a generation of women and their will to survive against the odds, to find their voice and to fight for recognition, and to rebuild their live after the tragedy of war.
Book details and technical specifications
Format: Book (Paperback)
Published: September 2011
Publication Date: 01/10/2011
Number of pages: 160
Width: 198 mm
Height: 124 mm
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Country: United Kingdom
Tuesday 06 December 2011
War's Forgotten Women by Maureen Shaw & Helen Millgate (History Press, £9.99)
By Betty Tebbs
There have been many stories told of the bravery, suffering and experiences of soldiers in the second world war.
Prolific too are the accounts of women serving in the land army, working in munitions factories or flying planes from factories to air bases.
But the situation of war widows who, on receiving the dreaded telegram or letter informing them their husband had been killed in action, were then abandoned by the government and left to pick up the pieces of family life, alone and without any financial assistance, is something of an untold story.
That's why this book is so welcome.
Painstakingly researched and sensitively written, it is the first record of the hardships suffered by war widows and their children and it illustrates the government's shameful disregard for the families of those servicemen who had sacrificed their lives in the war.
But what makes it a positive read is its accounts of the widows' struggles, not only within their own family but in the wider sphere, particularly those who decided to make a difference by campaigning for war widows pensions throughout the country.
There were others who took the struggle further, working politically to forge a better life for all women.
Written with great understanding, this book shows the necessity of working for peaceful solutions to conflict instead of war - without peace, any aspirations are unachievable.