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Blitz Kids: The Children's War Against Hitler

Sean Longden

2 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Second World War

The untold story of Britain's children in the Second World War both at home and on the front line.

From the dangers of London streets during the Blitz to working on the high seas in the Merchant Navy during the Atlantic Convoy, children were on the frontline of battle during the Second World War. In Sean Longden's gripping retelling of the conflict, he explores how the war impacted upon a whole generation who lost their innocence at home and abroad, on the battlefield and the home front.

Through extensive interviews and research, Longden uncovers previously untold stories of heroism and courage: the eleven year old boy who was sunk on the SS Benares and left in frozen water for two days; the teenage Girl Guide awarded the George Medal for bravery; the merchant seaman sunk three times by the age of seventeen; the fourteen year old who signed up for the army three times before finally seeing action in the Normandy campaign; the fourteen year old 'Boy Buglers' of the Royal Marines on active service onboard battleships; as well as the harrowing experiences of the boy who was survived the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster; the horrors of being a child captive in the German PoW camps.

Blitz Kids will change forever the way one sees the relationship between the Second World War and the generation - our grandparents and great grandparents- who bravely faced the challenge of Nazism. Allowing them to tell their stories in their own words, Sean Longden brings both the horrors and the humour of young lives lived in troubled times.

The book includes stories of:

The seventeen year old boy who signed up 4 times before he made it onto the beaches at Normandy.

The Girl Guide who saved a family during the blitz.

The teenage merchant seaman who was sunk three times.

What it was like to be a teenage POW after the disasters of Dunkirk.

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Praise for Blitz Kids: The Children's War Against Hitler

  • ...a slice of real life that cuts across the more sanitised and detached narratives that historians, myself included, too often present as 'proper history'...a rich, human book...sympathetic and sometimes shocking account. - Richard Overy, Literary Review

  • Interesting and comprehensive - Juliet Gardiner, BBC History Magazine

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