- Edited by Mark Clapson, University of Westminster, UK and Peter J. Larkham, Birmingham City University, UK
Triggered in part by contemporary experiences in the Balkans, the Middle East and elsewhere, there has been a rise in interest in the blitz and the subsequent reconstruction of cities, especially as many of the buildings and areas rebuilt after the Second World War are now facing demolition and reconstruction in their turn.
Drawing together leading scholars and new researchers from across the fields of planning, history, architecture and geography, this volume presents an historical and cultural commentary on the immediate and longer-term impacts of wartime destruction. The book's contents in 14 chapters cover the spread of themes from experiencing the war to reconstruction and its experiences; and although many chapters draw upon the UK experience, there is deliberate inclusion of some material from mainland Europe and Japan to emphasise that the experiences, processes and products are not London-specific.
A comparative book tracing destruction to reconstruction is a relative rarity, and yet of the utmost importance in possessing wider relevance to post-disaster reconstructions. The Blitz and Its Legacy is a fascinating volume which includes war experiences of destruction, architecture, urban design, the political process of planning and reconstruction, and also popular perceptions of rebuilding. Its findings provide very timely lessons which highlight the value of learning from historical precedent.
Contents: The Blitz, its experiences, its consequences, Mark Clapson and Peter J. Larkham; La ville éventrée: or, how bombing turned the city inside out, Lindsey Dodd; Holiday camps, castles and stately homes: the residential option for the evacuation of disabled children during World War II, Sue Wheatcroft; A service forged in the flames: the Blitz, wartime fire-fighting and the National Fire Service, Shane Ewen; Between destruction and reconstruction: London’s Debris Clearance and Repair Organisation 1939-1945, Robin Woolven; The people’s peace: the myth of wartime unity and public consent for town planning, Susanne Cowan; Reconstruction constraints: political and economic realities, Catherine Flinn; Destruction and dispersal: the Blitz and the ‘break-up’ of working-class London, Mark Clapson; Tradition and modernity: architecture in Japan after Hiroshima, Neil Jackson; Reconstruction civic authority in post-war Germany, Jeffry M. Diefendorf; Bold planning, mixed experiences: the diverse fortunes of post-war Birmingham, David Adams and Peter J. Larkham; Planning the reconstruction of war-damaged Plymouth, 1941-1961: devising and defending a modernisation agenda, Stephen Essex and Mark Brayshay; Destruction, revival and reconstruction across Alsace and Lorraine, 1939-1960, Hugh Clout; Problems of blitz reconstruction in Japan: the case of Sendai, Junichi Hasegawa; Index.
Reviews: ‘This important collection, edited by two of the leading scholars in the field, presents a wide-ranging, inter-disciplinary series of chapters on the impact of Second World War bombing and its aftermath. Focusing principally on Britain it also encompasses chapters on France, Germany and Japan and follows the experience from bombing, through crisis response to replanning and reconstruction. This book is a “must read” for scholars of reconstruction planning and the politics of place of the mid-twentieth century.’
John Pendlebury, Newcastle University, UK
‘This collection is a major addition to the literature on wartime bombing and its aftermath. It deals with emotional, welfare, short and long term physical and other dimensions, combining many valuable chapters that open new perspectives on the British experience in World War II with valuable insights from elsewhere in Europe and Japan. It will stimulate new interest in the whole question of wartime destruction and its role in producing social, political and institutional change.’
Stephen V. Ward, Oxford Brookes University, UK
'… this fertile collection promises to provoke and stimulate much fresh thinking about the connections between the experience of the blitz and later reconstruction. It deserves a large and diverse readership.'
LSE Review of Books
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Full contents list
Chapter 1 - The Blitz, its experiences, its consequences