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Captives of War

Captives of War
British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War

£31.99

Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107145870

£ 31.99
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About the Authors
  • This is a pioneering history of the experience of captivity of British prisoners of war in Europe during the Second World War, focussing on how they coped and came to terms with wartime imprisonment. Clare Makepeace reveals the ways in which POWs psychologically responded to surrender, the camaraderie and individualism that dominated life in the camps, and how, in their imagination, they constantly breached the barbed wire perimeter to be with their loved ones at home. Through the diaries, letters and log books written by seventy-five POWs, along with psychiatric research and reports, she explores the mental strains that tore through POWs' minds and the challenges that they faced upon homecoming. The book tells the story of wartime imprisonment through the love, fears, fantasies, loneliness, frustration and guilt that these men felt, shedding new light on what the experience of captivity meant for these men both during the war and after their liberation.

    • The first cultural history to be written on British POWs in Europe in World War Two, and draws upon the insights of anthropology, psychology, sociology and literary studies
    • Explores the emotional and intimate worlds of POWs to improve our understanding of what these men went through
    • Shows how diaries, letters and logbooks composed in captivity did not simply record experiences but also interacted with, shaped and altered them
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Clare Makepeace is a rare historian able to combine depth of knowledge with exquisite sensitivity. By delving into the intimate lives of prisoners of war, Makepeace reveals the primacy of domestic ties in the inner lives of these captives, and emphasises the range and complexity of different masculinities. The book is a 'must read', not only for people curious about war and captivity, but also for anyone interested in the history of everyday lives'. Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck, University of London

    'This is a profoundly important new history of Second World War captivity. Through the experience of British prisoners of war, Clare Makepeace provides a groundbreaking appraisal of the impact of war upon masculine identity. A tour de force addition to the cultural history of modern warfare'. , Heather Jones, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War offers a rare combination of impeccable scholarship coupled with deep humanity for the men who lived through the history. British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War is teeming with vivid stories and compelling voices. Every page adds another level of understanding to what it must have been like to experience captivity. This riveting account will appeal to anyone fascinated by history - but also to any reader interested in how we respond to adversity'. Midge Gillies, author of The Barbed-Wire University (2012)

    'By weaving together the diaries and letters of those involved with official sources, and with insights from psychology, sociology and history, Clare Makepeace shows what everyday captivity entailed for the many thousands of British servicemen captured by the Axis powers behind barbed wire. Carefully constructed and well-written, British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War breaks new ground in the understanding of the social and cultural history of British prisoners of war in the Second World War.' Bob Moore, University of Sheffield

    'A fascinating, compassionate and evocative exploration of the highs and lows of life in captivity, told directly and contemporaneously by the men experiencing it.' Greg Taylor, Phoenix Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107145870
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Capture
    2. Imprisoned servicemen
    3. Bonds between men
    4. Ties with home
    5. Going 'round the bend'
    6. Liberation
    7. Resettling
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Clare Makepeace, Birkbeck, University of London
    Clare Makepeace is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and a guest lecturer at the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge. She is a historian of British servicemen's experiences in the two World Wars. She has published in numerous academic books and journals, as well as History Today, BBC History Magazine, BBC news online and the Daily Mail. She works with media professionals in a consultancy and on-air capacity and has contributed to programmes for BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and local radio outlets. Her work on prostitution in World War One recently inspired an Arts Council-funded regional theatre production.

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