September 1940 marked the beginning of Nazi Germany′s sustained attack on civilian Britain. Lasting eight months long, the Blitz was the form of warfare that had been predicted throughout the 1930s, that everyone had expected since Neville Chamberlain′s declaration that Britain was at war with Germany. The ferocity of the Luftwaffe attacks, combined with images of the City of London burning are widely considered to be iconic snapshots of Second World War history.
Though compared with other great moments of that war -- D-Day, Dunkirk, V E Day -- the Blitz remains curiously unexamined. Apart from fragmentary accounts and local records, there is little in the way of a comprehensive account of the Blitz experience that so many British civilians went through -- as well as the social, political and cultural implications of the bombardment. Designed to break the morale of the British population, the nightly bombings certainly did devastate. But, as Juliet Gardiner shows in this hugely important book, they also served to galvanise the nation; from those eight months of terrifying Nazi onslaught, a new determination amongst people and politicians steadily emerged. (pb)