The Love-charm of Bombs

The Love-charm of Bombs

Restless Lives in the Second World War

Book - 2013
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'The nightly routine of sirens, barrage, the probing raider, the unmistakable engine ... the bomb-bursts moving nearer and then moving away, hold one like a love-charm' -- Graham Greene

When the first bombs fell on London in August 1940, the city was transformed overnight into a strange kind of battlefield. For most Londoners, the sirens, guns, planes, and bombs brought sleepless nights, fear and loss. But for a group of writers, the war became an incomparably vivid source of inspiration, the blazing streets scenes of exhilaration in which fear could transmute into love. In this powerful chronicle of literary life under the Blitz, Lara Feigel vividly conjures the lives of five prominent writers: Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Hilde Spiel and the novelist Henry Green. Starting with a sparklingly detailed recreation of a single night of September 1940, the narrative traces the tempestuous experiences of these five figures through five years in London and Ireland, followed by postwar Vienna and Berlin.

Volunteering to drive ambulances, patrol the streets and fight fires, the protagonists all exhibited a unified spirit of a nation under siege, but as individuals their emotions were more volatile. As the sky whistled and the ground shook, nerves were tested, loyalties examined and torrid affairs undertaken. Literary historian and journalist Feigel brilliantly and beautifully interweaves the letters, diaries, journalism and fiction of her writers with official records to chart the history ofa burning world, experienced through the eyes of extraordinary individuals.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2013.
ISBN: 9781608199846
Branch Call Number: 940.53421
Characteristics: 519 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm


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Oct 23, 2017

This is a very well written biography of 5 British / Austrian writers and their literary circle. They were truly at their best during the war, especially during the WWII "blitz" - the bombing of London and other areas of England. Most are not particularly "nice" individuals - hurting partners and children is a part of each life. After the war, their narcissism comes more to the center, even to the point of indifference toward people with former Nazi membership. I found the information about Ireland's neutrality during the war amazing. They went as far as mourning the death of Hitler in order to be "impartial". I know that Sweden was neutral during the war, but that country did a great deal to help refugees and the Allies & Norwegian underground while maintaining official neutrality. Highly recommend the book if you are interested in WWII and literary biographies. The one of the 5 everyone is most likely to know is Graham Green. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jun 04, 2014

I originally chose this book because of an interest in Graham Greene, however found the responses of the different personalities to the bombing and destruction of the war fascinating.


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