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Auntie's War: The BBC during the Second World War
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Edward Stourton
Auntie's War: The BBC during the Second World War by Edward Stourton at Abbey's Bookshop,

Auntie's War: The BBC during the Second World War

Edward Stourton


Black Swan

British & Irish history;
Social & cultural history;
Second World War;
International institutions;
Radio & television industry


432 pages

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British institution unlike any other, and its story during the Second World War is also our story. This was Britain's first total war, engaging the whole nation, and the wireless played a crucial role in it. For the first time, news of the conflict reached every living room - sometimes almost as it happened; and at key moments - Chamberlain's announcement of war, the Blitz, the D-Day landings - the BBC was there, defining how these events would pass into our collective memory.

Auntie's War is a love letter to radio. While these were the years when 'Auntie' - the BBC's enduring nickname - earnt her reputation for bossiness, they were also a period of truly remarkable voices- Churchill's fighting speeches, de Gaulle's broadcasts from exile, J. B. Priestley, Ed Murrow, George Orwell, Richard Dimbleby and Vera Lynn. Radio offered an incomparable tool for propaganda; it was how coded messages, both political and personal, were sent across Europe, and it was a means of sending less than truthful information to the enemy. At the same time, eyewitness testimonies gave a voice to everyone, securing the BBC's reputation as reliable purveyor of the truth.

Edward Stourton is a sharp-eyed, wry and affectionate companion on the BBC's wartime journey, investigating archives, diaries, letters and memoirs to examine what the BBC was and what it stood for. Full of astonishing, little-known incidents, battles with Whitehall warriors and Churchill himself, and with a cast of brilliant characters, Auntie's War is much more than a portrait of a beloved institution at a critical time. It is also a unique portrayal of the British in wartime and an incomparable insight into why we have the broadcast culture we do today.

By:   Edward Stourton
Imprint:   Black Swan
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 127mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   294g
ISBN:   9781784160791
ISBN 10:   1784160792
Pages:   432
Publication Date:   October 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Edward Stourton has worked in broadcasting for 38 years, and regularly presents BBC Radio Four programmes such as The World at One, The World This Weekend, Sunday and Analysis. He has been a foreign correspondent for Channel Four, ITN and the BBC, and for ten years he was one of the main presenters of the Today programme. Auntie's War is his seventh book.

An engaging, balanced and thoroughly researched history. It is often a moving and amusing tale containing plenty of mavericks and colourful episodes. -- Lawrence James * The Times * Fascinating, complex and exhaustively researched ... This is a book that travels far beyond the bomb-scarred walls of Broadcasting House, bringing the reader as it did the 1940s listening public, the drama and immediacy of the war, and eventually the reality of a post-Nazi world, where Dimbleby's pared down description of the liberation of Belsen must be one of the most shattering pieces of ever broadcast. -- Juliet Nicolson * Spectator * This book captures how and why the BBC came to be trusted around the world so much that people like my grandparents - refugees from the Nazis - would hide in a cupboard every day with their short wave radio just to hear the truth as reported by the BBC. -- Nick Robinson The story of the BBC during the war has hardly been told though it is both fascinating and important. Edward Stourton's book is an engrossing account of this important time for one of our great institutions, perhaps to be read along side Penelope Fitzgerald's brilliant novel Human Voices. -- Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes This engaging book about the BBC is full of astonishing incidents, truth versus propaganda and the unspoken heroism of correspondents. It tells how eyewitness reports gave a voice to everyone for the first time. * CHOICE *

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