Book Review – Histories of the Unexpected: WWII

Histories of the Unexpected: World War II by Sam Willis & James Daybell

£8.99 Atlantic Books

Summary
This book is part of a series that takes seemily insignificant objects or themes and neatly connects them to parts of history, in this case, my fave, WW2.

What I loved:

  • The tone – Each subject is written in just the right level of detail to be pique my interested but not be boring or go on for too long. I also found them tastefully done though it might be worth reading it through before you give it to a child, just to make sure they are okay with some of the subjects (like suicide and the Holocaust)
  • New Facts – I read a lot of books about WW2 and spend a lot of time rereading facts I’ve heard many times before but not with this book, even subjects I thought I knew a lot about (Carrots for one) I didn’t find it was the same old rehashed and learnt something new.
  • New subjects – I think what I loved most about this book was the fact I learnt about subjects I wouldn’t have even thought about researching into like how the war effected dead people or how King Arthur made a resurgence. It brings parts of history not often talked about and I really enjoyed that.
  • Just the right length – I found I could pick up and put down this book in between reading others and it was just the thing for reading when I had a few minutes or just before bed when I didn’t fancy getting deep into something

Favourite Facts

Nazi German became a world leader, decades ahead of any other nation, in the understanding of the causes and prevention of cancer. It was something they took very seriously and saw it as an anti social activity that went against the Volksgemeinshaft (people’s community)

One of the worst offenders for not following black out legislation was the government itself. In November 1939, Mass Observation conducted a survey of government buildings in Whitehall to see how many failed to comply and counted 147 in total, including 4 at the war office.

An average paratrooper would need to carry over 100 pounds of equipment which meant pockets became very important and were added to trousers for the first time in the early twentieth century.

Round Up
A brilliant, easy to read fact book which takes on well worn subjects in new lights and shines lights of ones not normally talked about. 8/10

Here and Now

Hatty Harley View All →

I am a pink haired, list lover with a silver lining outlook on life and a passion for reviving history.

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