I saw a review of Nella Last's War on a podcast I watch and I thought it sounded intresting so I popped it on my wish list and Mick bought me it for my birthday. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Mass-Observation was a UK social research organisation founded in 1937. It aimed to record everyday life in Britain through a panel of around 500 volunteers who maintained diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires.
Nella Last was a housewife who lived in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. She wrote a diary for the Mass Observation Archive from 1939 until 1966. Nella Last's War is an edited version of the two million words she wrote during World War II.
' In September 1939, housewife and mother Nella Last began a regular diary that lasted for thirty years. The account that she left of life during the Second World War is moving, fascinating and unique.
While Nella's younger son joined the army, she and the rest of the family tried to adapt to the transformed rhythms of life in Barrow-in-Furness, which suffered terribly from enemy bombing raids. Writing each day for the 'Mass-Observation' project, Nella grows in confidence as a result of her new work, and her diary entries tell a powerful story about the war years, covering everything from sex to the genuine fear of invasion.
This was the period in which Nella turned fifty, saw her children leave home and reviewed her life and her marriage - which eventually she compared to slavery. This is the war as Nella Last lived it'.
I found this a fascinating read, not only hearing first hand how the war affected the ordinary person on a day to day basis, but hearing about Nella's worries for those around her and her fears for the future.
A further two volumes of Nella's diaries were published, Nella Last's Peace and Nella Last in the 1950s, which I'd now like to read.