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About the Author: Nella Last

Nella Last was a wife and mother who wrote up her day-to-day experience of civilian life in the Second World War as part of the Mass-Observation Archive, which was set up by sociologist Charles Madge and anthropologist Tom Harrisson to record ordinary people's views on contemporary events. She was an intelligent woman, who was stifled by her life and repressive marriage in a provincial place. Fortunately, she had two escape routes from depression: her writing and her work with the Women's Volunteer Service. She began the diary in 1937 and kept it up longer than most and writing more than everyone else. It was finally published in 1981. Nella died in 1968, so never lived to see her wartime diaries published.

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The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife, 49' by

Goodreads rating: 4.10

Paperback, by Profile Books

ISBN10: 184668000X | ISBN13: 9781846680007

Page count: 312

In September 1939, housewife and mother Nella Last began a diary whose entries, in their regularity, length and quality, have created a record of the Second World War which is powerful, fascinating and unique.

When war broke out, Nella's younger son joined the army while the rest of the family tried to adapt to civilian life. Writing each day for the "Mass Observation" project, Nella, a middle-aged housewife from the bombed town of Barrow, shows what people really felt during this time. This was the period in which she turned 50, saw her children leave home, and reviewed her life and her marriage - which she eventually compares to slavery. Her growing confidence as a result of her war work makes this a moving (though often comic) testimony, which, covering sex, death and fear of invasion, provides a new, unglamorised, female perspective on the war years. (For example, Nella writes :'Next to being a mother, I'd have loved to write books.' Oct 8, 1939.)

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