Women at War

The words and voices of the women in �Women at War� come from people whose lives, taken together, cross three centuries. There are women who, as children of the British Empire, shared the nineteenth-century planet with Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde, and women who share the new millennium with Queen Elizabeth II and Madonna. But at the centre of all these lives are the two cataclysms of the first half of the twentieth century, Europe�s two-part civil war: the Great War of 1914-18 and the Second World War of 1939-45. These were events so terrible that they shaped the century, and were still casting shadows on children born at the century�s end.

One of the first two titles in this ground-breaking new series, �Women at War� examines the enormously important part that women increasingly played in the two major wars of the twentieth century. From their involvement in the First World War � as munitions workers, factory hands, land girls, postal workers, drivers, as well as nurses and in the women�s corps of the armed services that were established towards the war�s end � to the parts they played in actual theatres of operations, as well as at home, between 1939 and 1945, their role increased to the point at which they became, literally, indispensable.

Told in the often uncompromising words of women � from widely differing backgrounds and walks of life � who took part in these historic events, �Women at War� is at once an evocation of the times it charts, and a tribute to its indomitable subjects. In addition, the book is accompanied by an unique, 1-hour audio CD featuring the actual reminiscences of many of these eyewitnesses, taken from the magnificent Sound Archive of Britain�s national museum of conflict, the Imperial War Museum. The CDs, which contain material not found in the book, are further enhanced by the use of actual recordings of gunfire and other sound effects, as well as soldiers� ditties and popular songs and music from the period. The result is a remarkable and deeply moving work that captures not only the horrors of battle, but also the reality of women at war � in their own words, and often in their own voices.