New Books: 1939: A People’s History

In the autumn of 1938, Europe believed in the promise of peace. Still reeling from the ravages of the Great War, its people were desperate to rebuild their lives in a newly safe and stable era. But only a year later, the fateful decisions of just a few men had again led Europe to war, a war that would have a profound and lasting impact on millions.

Bestselling historian Frederick Taylor focuses on the day-to-day experiences of British and German people trapped in this disastrous chain of events and not, as is so often the case, the elite. Drawn from original sources, their voices, concerns and experiences reveal a marked disconnect between government and people; few ordinary citizens in either country wanted war.

1939: A People’s History is not only a vivid account of that turbulent year but also an interrogation of our capacity to go to war again. In many ways it serves as a warning; an opportunity for us to learn from our history and a reminder that we must never take peace for granted.