Stranger in the House.

By Julie Summers

Printed: 2008

Publisher: Simon & Schuster. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 16 × 24 × 3.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 16 x 24 x 3.5

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

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Over 4 million ex-service men were demobilised between 1945 and 1947. These men, changed by injury or experience, returned to a Britain that had also adjusted in their absence. In STRANGER IN THE HOUSE, Julie Summers talks to the women who were left to cope at home without their menfolk and explains how the longed-for homecomings were sometimes difficult for all concerned. With the majority of young men away fighting, wives, daughters and mothers maintained the home front by going out to work, running the household, looking after the family and becoming the main breadwinner. Of course most of these women looked forward for the safe return of their men, but often did not realise that they themselves had been changed by their own time coping alone. When the war was over there were many wives who had to deal with an injured, emotionally-damaged husband, children who had never seen their father before, mothers whose sons did not want to speak about their horrific experiences and those who thought their fiances were dead only to find them reappearing after they had married another.Julie Summers has spent hours speaking to the women involved and listening to their often sad, sometimes joyous, stories. Families were long affected by the fall-out of the war’s survivors, from depression to alcoholism to marital disharmony and divorce and many have spoken here for the first time about those challenges. An enlightening, fascinating insight into a little-known aspect of our recent history, STRANGER IN THE HOUSE is a moving and honest look at how ordinary women’s private lives were altered forever.

Wanting to better understand the lives of women left at home during WW2, I chose this book from so many. I thought it was really well written and researched, sharing the experiences of wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters and grandchildren on the return of their menfolk from the war. It is a must-read to try to comprehend the struggles that the women back home endured who would go on to raise their families and often care for their returning injured and damaged heroes. I bought this book on the back of my husband telling me his grandma was a bit of a witch when he was young. If only he knew what she went through during those tragic and difficult times.

Julie Summers is a writer, researcher and historian. Her books include Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy Irvine, and a biography of her grandfather, the man who built the ‘real’ bridge over the River Kwai, The Colonel of Tamarkan. She lives in Oxford.

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