I should make this clear from the off: I am the only member of the Honey team without a background in archaeology. So when this book arrived on my desk I instantly thought “oh god…will I do this review any credit?” But, as life is about pushing your own boundaries, I thought I’d give it a go…
Despite not having an archaeological background, I have always been a fan of modern world history. Moreover, I always relish an opportunity to further my understanding of the events of WW2. Therefore, I decided to approach the subject of archaeology with an open mind, and who would have thought halfway through I was contemplating buying a trowel of my own!
The fascinating thing about the archaeology of the Second World War is we have the rare opportunity to back up material finds with first hand sources. Through the recovery of artefacts and the ability to listen to anecdotes of the people who fought and lived through the war, we are able to more accurately document and preserve our wartime heritage for future generations. Through six core sections, Moshenska discusses key occurrences, innovations, heroes and general aspects of life during wartime Britain; from the selfless volunteer Air Raid Wardens who struggled to maintain ‘blackout’, to the brave RAF pilots who fought tirelessly in the Battle of Britain.
An Air Raid Warden setting the time for blackout during WW2.
The ‘Merchant Mariner’ was by far my favourite chapter of the book. I am obsessed with tales of the code breakers at Bletchley Park, and how their hard work breaking the Enigma Code helped to destroy the U-Boat fleets attacking our shores. Moshenska also discusses the hundreds of shipwrecks dotted around our Southern coastlines, and specifically talks about SS Richard Montgomery, which I can just about see on a clear day from my local beach.
The wreckage of SS Richard Montgomery pokes out above the water.
Why You Should Read This Book
We really are in an extraordinary and privileged position to be able to talk to both survivors and veterans, and therefore understand so much about a life-changing moment in our recent history. We ought to take more of an advantage of this access whilst we are still able too! For me, this book has certainly encouraged me to ask questions of my older family members, before all we have left are only the discarded gas masks, the bricked-up air raid shelters and the distant memory of a worldwide fight for freedom.
Oh, and you may just learn a new thing or too…I certainly did!
Lest we forget all those who fought for our freedom, in all shapes and forms.