CONTESTING HOME DEFENCE
Men, Women and the Home Guard in the Second World War

PENNY SUMMERFIELD and CORINNA PENISTON-BIRD
320pp ILLUS 2007 LIST PRICE: £15.99 (P) H427

Quantity:

£7.95

You Save51%
Description
Was the Home Guard in the Second World War, as George Orwell claimed, 'a People’s Army'? This book argues that the Home Guard at once contributed to and challenged the notion of national unity: official rhetoric was inclusive but recruitment practices were selective – and contested. Left-wingers trained Home Guards in unauthorised guerrilla techniques; women formed their own armed organisation, sometimes helped by defiant Home Guard commanders. In wartime it was represented variously as a pillar of the war effort, a harbinger of future change and a questionable military organisation that was failing to turn civilian men into effective soldiers. The sceptical view re-emerged in the 1960s BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Oral histories of men and women who served in the force reveal the complex interactions of personal memory with Dad’s Army’s pervasive but ambiguous representation.