Stranger in the House: Women's Stories of Men Returning from the Second World War by Julie Summers

Stranger in the House: Women's Stories of Men Returning from the Second World War

byJulie Summers

Kobo ebook | July 6, 2009

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'It is as if I have been waiting for someone to ask me these questions for almost the whole of my life'

From 1945, more than four million British servicemen were demobbed and sent home after the most destructive war in history. Damaged by fighting, imprisonment or simply separation from their loved ones, these men returned to a Britain that had changed in their absence.

In Stranger in the House, Julie Summers tells the women's story, interviewing over a hundred women who were on the receiving end of demobilisation: the mothers, wives, sisters, who had to deal with an injured, emotionally-damaged relative; those who assumed their fiancés had died only to find them reappearing after they had married another; women who had illegitimate children following a wartime affair as well as those whose steadfast optimism was rewarded with a delightful reunion.

Many of the tales are moving, some are desperately sad, others are full of humour but all provide a fascinating account of how war altered ordinary women's lives forever.

Title:Stranger in the House: Women's Stories of Men Returning from the Second World WarFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 6, 2009Publisher:Simon & Schuster UKLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:184739938X

ISBN - 13:9781847399380

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from "When their war ended, ours began." Often we hear the voices of soldiers, of men on the front lines. In this book, we heard the voice of those left behind: their mothers, sisters, wives and children. "When their war ended, ours began." After the war, when the men who had survived returned and met their wives and children again (for those who had them). They had become strangers to each other, and some of the children were meeting their fathers for the first time. For some, this meant they would never be close to their fathers. Many fought bitterly with their fathers over who got to sleep in the bed with their mother. Jealousies over her attention arose. Both had valid points. The children were used to their mother's undivided attention and were growing up, but the men had been separated from their wives for years, and understandably wanted her time and attention too. Some men returned to and were expected to raise the illegitimate children of their wives, some left behind their own illegitimate children in Europe. Some brought them over. Almost all men left behind prostitutes or women they'd had affairs with. Many on both sides were unfaithful, but while a blind eye was given to the men, the women were condemned. Some of the children of these soldier had emotionally distant and even abusive fathers, especially in the case of former Japanese prisoners. A significant portion of this book focuses on their stories. Some wives felt they couldn't speak about their problems after what their husbands had gone through. I would've thought the same and yet...Perhaps suffering shouldn't be compared. At least, we should not dismiss the pain of others because some had it worse. I once heard someone say "it's like saying you can't be happy because someone has it better", and I can't help but agree. I recommend this book to those who want to know more about what family life was like after the war
Date published: 2018-07-21