Listening to Britain, Edited by Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang

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The Independent Culture

From May to September 1940, a period that encompassed Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the start of the Blitz, the Ministry of Information took daily soundings on national morale throughout the UK.

This fascinating collection of reports reveals a country that was simultaneously spirited and fed-up, undaunted but grumbling.

A report in June from Tunbridge Wells stated "East Grinstead phlegmatic after bombs last night" and quoted a Captain Mainwaring type: "It is a pity more damage was not done as people left quite unperturbed."

By August, an observer at Angel tube station in London noted "Sleepers disturbed by conscientious marshal asking periodically if everyone is alright."