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The Independent Culture
LAST LETTERS HOME ed. Tamasin Day-Lewis, Macmillan £17.50

This anthology of letters written by ordinary people separated during the War - lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children - makes for exceptionally moving reading. Some are last letters in the most final sense, like the one Ted Baker wrote for his three-year-old daughter Pat "to remember me by" in anticipation of his own death; or the diary Kenneth Stevens wrote for his wife Penelope in the Singapore POW camp where, a month before he died, he was thinking "of cold, wet November and our own fireside; of crocuses and snowdrops, and lilac of the Lake District". Other, less harrowing letters are the "last" before families were reunited. All are sensitively edited and introduced without sentimentality or any sense of voyeurism.