The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace

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Profile Books, Sep 27, 2012 - Literary Collections - 485 pages

The complete collection of the diaries of Nella Last

'I can never understand how the scribbles of such an ordinary person ... can possibly have value...'

So wrote Nella Last in her diary on 2 September 1949. More than sixty years on, tens of thousands of people have read and enjoyed three volumes of her vivid and moving diaries, written during the Second World War and its aftermath as part of the Mass Observation project - and the basis for BAFTA-winning drama Housewife 49 starring Victoria Wood.

The Diaries of Nella Last, brings together into a single volume the best of Nella's prolific outpourings, including a great deal of new, unpublished material from the war years. Capturing the everyday trials and horrors of wartime Britain and the nation's transition into peacetime and beyond, Nella's touching and often humorous narrative provides an invaluable historical portrait of what daily life was like for ordinary people in the 1940s and 1950s. Outwardly Nella's life was commonplace; but behind this mask were a penetrating mind and a lively pen.

As David Kynaston said on Radio 4, Nella Last 'will come to be seen as one of the major twentieth century English diarists.'


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WAR 19391943
August 1939September 1940
September 1940April 1941
MayJune 1941
JuneSeptember 1941
SeptemberOctober 1941
OctoberDecember 1941
FebruarySeptember 1946
November 1946October 1947
October 1947August 1948
JanuaryFebruary 1950
MayDecember 1950
June 1952August 1955

December 1941February 1942
FebruaryJune 1942
JuneSeptember 1942
September 1942August 1943
PEACE 19451955
MaySeptember 1945
September 1945January 1946
Money And Its Value
Editing Nella Lasts Diary
Mass Observation
List of Illustrations

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About the author (2012)

Patricia and Robert Malcolmson are social historians with a special interest in Mass Observation. They have edited several MO Diaries, including Nella Last's Peace and Nella Last in the 1950s. They live in Nelson, British Columbia.

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