This is a new and controversial study of the Second World War, covering the period between D-Day and VE Day and focusing on the day-to-day experiences of British and Canadian troops involved in the campaign to liberate Europe. It is not an orthodoxMoreThis is a new and controversial study of the Second World War, covering the period between D-Day and VE Day and focusing on the day-to-day experiences of British and Canadian troops involved in the campaign to liberate Europe. It is not an orthodox history of strategy, pivotal battles and the grand sweep of troop movements- instead the author looks at everyday life, seeing soldiers as individuals and illustrating their behaviour and experiences in a way that is both honest and shocking.
It is the first time many issues--such as soldiers sex lives--have been fully examined from a British perspective. The book is for anyone interested in social history as well as readers of military history. This is history written from an alternative, challenging perspective. The author has not been afraid to confront controversial issues.
Coverage includes chapters dealing with: the crime wave unleashed on Europe by British and Canadian soldiers, the prevalence of indiscipline including the murder of unpopular officers, revenge and the widespread killing of German prisoners by Commonwealth troops, the VD epidemic, the use of brothels and fraternisation with German women, the looting of property from both the enemy and liberated civilians together with widespread vandalism.
But the book puts all this in the context of the daily trials of the average tommy with fascinating and often humorous accounts of how the troops dealt with fear and battle fatigue, how they satisfied their craving for alcohol and supplemented their army rations, and how the lucky ones managed to survive and even snatch some recreation. Sean Longden studied History at the University of London. He has had a varied career mixing workin historial photographic archives and international press agencies.