Sunday 13 November 2011

War, women and why? Three books to explore!

Next Wednesday I will be heading off to New Zealand for a while, and have sorted some reading matter to take with me, so figured I'd give a few quick plugs before I go! They are all new releases from Pen and Sword (

Women's Lives: Researching Women's Social History 1800-1939, by Jennifer Newby

OK - Jen's the editor of Family History Monthly, and as I've known about this coming out for a while, I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in! It is quite a weighty tome, and is packed with six key sections broken down into chapters, with the individual sections looking at women in domestic service, those who worked on the land and in the factories, as well as middle class women, aristocratic women, and criminals. A nice wee additional gem is a four page timeline of relevant developments and acts tucked in at the very end before the index.

Tracing Your Second World War Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians
, by Phil Tomaselli

This looks a good meaty take on the war for genealogists. In flicking through it I have just been somewhat delighted to note there's a good section on how to search for people at Bletchley Park - Catherine Paton, I will find you! - and lots of other goodies, covering all the services in some depth. There are twelve many chapters, with several sub-sections, and also a look in the final one at Commonwealth and Empire research. Like Jen's book, this is also published by Pen and Sword.

Family Matters: A History of Genealogy, by Michael Sharpe

This one looks an absolute cracker! It's a hardback book at £19.99 providing an account of the history of what I and many others do for a living, and one that as a former documentary maker therefore really appeals to me. Never mind what it is that genealogists do for a living, whether as a hobby in quiet times or as a merchandiser or vendor providing a service, just what was the sequence of events over the last few centuries that led us to the situation where we are at today? There are nine chapters included, and at 258 pages, this is definitely going to be an indepth read - from what I can make out, it predominantly looks at the English situation, although goes beyond England's shores and borders on occasion, but I can't imagine the situation will have been that much different in Scotland or elsewhere.

Finally, I've just gone into a mad phase of wanting to find out more about the Anglo-Irish War and the subsequent Irish Civil War, and so in the last two weeks have read two useful books on the subject: Essential Histories: The Irish Civil War 1922-23 by Peter Cottrell (Osprey, 2008) and British Voices From the Irish War of Independence 1918-1921: The Words of British Servicemen Who Were There, by William Sheehan (2007, Collins Press). I'll be taking a book on the history of Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary with me to read also, as I want to try and find out what my wife's lot got up to! :)


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