A unique look at London during World War I, seen through the eyes of the people who lived there. 11pm, Tuesday August 4, 1914: with the declaration of war, London becomes one of the greatest killing machines in human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers pass through the capital on their way to the front; wounded men are brought back to be treated in London’s hospitals; and millions of shells are produced in its factories. The war changes London life forever. Women escape the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment puts money into the pockets of the London poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment, and licentious behavior. As the war drags on, gloom often descends on the capital. And at night London is plunged into darkness for fear of German bombers and Zeppelins that continue to raid the city. Yet despite daily casualty lists, food shortages, and enemy bombing, Londoners are determined to get on with their lives and flock to cinemas and theaters, dance halls, and shebeens, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White’s magnificent panorama reveals a struggling yet flourishing city.
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About the Author:
Jerry White teaches London history at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing and London in the Twentieth Century: A City and Its People, which won the Wolfson History Prize in 2001. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the University of London in 2005 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
"Zeppelin Nights is social history at its best. . . White creates a vivid picture of a city changed for ever by war." —Times
"Jerry White's name on a title page is a guarantee of a lively, compassionate book full of striking incidents and memorable images. . . This is a fast-paced social history that never stumbles. . . A well-orchestrated polyphony of voices that brings history alive." —Guardian
"White delivers in brilliant time-eclipsing detail an evolving and often deeply moving portrait of a city that became gradually squeezed to its limits." —Sunday Telegraph
"Jerry White is masterful at mixing hard facts and statistics with telling anecdotes." —Mail on Sunday
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