Britain’s Greatest Generation
by Sue Elliott and Steve Humphries
Published by Random House Books
A major collaboration with Steve on the book for this 4-part series for BBC2, shown in May 2015. They tell the stories of ordinary Britons – and a handful of more well-known faces – born between 1910 and 1925 who made such a contribution to winning WW2 and making the world we know today. I wanted to write it because it was such a worthwhile project and because it would be a tribute to my parents – all three of them! It is dedicated to them.
The book had to be delivered on a much tighter timescale than the TV series, so I was working from transcripts as soon as Steve had finished the interviews. Unlike the previous two books, this meant I didn’t have time to do my own interviews with the marvellous people whose stories we were privileged to tell. It was all very tight and I did the writing (Steve is credited as co-author because the interviews are all his – apart from a few including Dame Vera Lynn) in four months. This was a push, especially as I had another book on the go at the same time. I was working seven days a week on it, but the stories were so engrossing and the history so important – and so relatively recent – that this didn’t seem a hardship.
“Wonderful… Each account is colourful, touching and unique, each individual shining a fresh light on our shared past. This is a rich, heart-warming record of a generation to whom we owe so much, and a physical reminder of the importance of talking to our relatives about their lives, for the benefit of those who come after us.”
“This is an important book about the ordinary and not-so-ordinary lives of a wide variety of individuals who experienced the upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century. Writing sensitively with not a trace of sentimentality, the authors have allowed the voices of those individuals to come through clearly and engagingly to tell us their stories. The accompanying photographs are fascinating. Everyone who wants to understand our recent history from the perspective of those who went through it should read this delightful book.”
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