Suggestions for Further Reading
The following represent only a fraction of the sources I consulted when researching Goodnight From London, but if you are interested in learning more about the Second World War, the people who lived through it, and the places that appear in my book, these books are a good place to begin. Most should be easily available through your local library or bookseller, though some are now out of print.
I highly recommend Juliet Gardiner’s Wartime Britain, which offers a lively and thorough history of Britain during the war. I also found London at War by Philip Ziegler, The People’s War by Angus Calder, and the succinct Britain in the Second World War by Mark Donnelly very informative. For a sharper view of the Blitz, turn to London Was Ours: Diaries and Memories of the London Blitz by Amy Helen Bell, Blackout by Antonia Lant, and The Blitz, again by Juliet Gardiner.
For books that focus on women’s experience of war, I recommend Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in the Second World War by Virginia Nicholson and What Did You Do in the War, Mummy? by Mavis Nicholson.
I found the following memoirs and diaries that center on the war years especially useful: Among You Taking Notes by Naomi Mitchison, London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes, Nella Last’s War by Nella Last, and Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson.
To better understand the experiences of women journalists, I recommend Battling for News by Anne Sebba and The Women Who Wrote the War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel. The reminiscences of Clare Hollingworth in Front Line and Virginia Cowles in Looking for Trouble, both of them acclaimed war correspondents, are particularly informative. Sketches from a Life by Anne Scott-James offers an interesting perspective on work at daily newspapers and Picture Post, the magazine that was the model for Picture Weekly.
For works written by or about male journalists, I recommend Of This Our Time by Tom Hopkinson (the founding editor of Picture Post), Ernie Pyle’s War: America’s Eyewitness to World War II by James Tobin, My War by Andy Rooney, and This is London by Edward R. Murrow.
The history of the SOE has been imperfectly chronicled, for the organization remains steeped in secrecy and only a fraction of its official files escaped destruction after the war. Of those records that survive, many are still classified. I particularly recommend The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish: My Life in Churchill’s School for Spies by Noreen Riols; it is a highly entertaining memoir written by possibly the only surviving female employee of the SOE’s F Section. Also worth consulting are S.O.E.: An Outline History of the Special Operations Executive by M. R. D. Foot, as well as Churchill’s Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945 by Nicholas Rankin.
If you’d like to learn more about life on the British home front, I recommend Eating For Victory by Jill Norman, Make Do and Mend, a reproduction of wartime pamphlets issued by the Ministry of Information, Spuds, Spam and Eating for Victory by Katherine Knight, and The Wartime Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Davies.
There is no shortage of novels on the subject of the Second World War, and it would be easy for me to fill the next ten pages with recommendations. I will instead confine myself to a handful of books that I find particularly inspiring: Noonday by Pat Barker, The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen, The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, Coventry by Helen Humphreys, and The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff.