Claudia Baldoli and Andrew Knapp. Forgotten Blitzes: France and Italy under Allied Air Attack, 1940-1945. London and New York: Continuum, 2012. Ask and ye shall receive! This is a groundbreaking book, as far as the English language is concerned: I know of no other treatments of the bombing of either France or Italy at this length. Of course, it could be argued that there's only half a book on each here, but I suspect the comparative approach will be very fruitful. I'll probably be most interested in the chapter on preparing for bombing in the interwar period, but it all looks good. Incidentally, this is the latest output of the prolific Bombing, States and Peoples in Western Europe 1940-1945 project centred on the University of Exeter; only last month its members took up an an entire issue of Labour History Review; and I see that Richard Overy has a book coming out next year entitled The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 -- so now I have something else to look forward to!

Lizzie Collingham. The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food. London: Penguin, 2012. An agrarian interpretation of the Second World War. This has received rave reviews from all over (including one from the aforementioned Richard Overy). I do wonder if the pudding has been over-egged as far as the blurb is concerned: I doubt that the claim that 'the necessity of feeding whole countries led to Germany's invasion of Russia' can be sustained, unless 'led to' is to be read as 'contributed to' rather than 'caused'. Still, looks very interesting.

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7 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. I'm sure there's something about guns, butter, parsnips, there somewhere.

    More seriously, it seems the Lebensraum policy of Nazi Germany was at least partly agriculturally based, as the East being a 'breadbasket' for good Aryans.

    Be interested in your thoughts on both of them.

  2. About food I'm going crazy to lay my hands on the subtitles for this movie in a language I can understand...

    "A documentary film about army cooks and how the everyday needs of thousands of armed stomachs affect the victories and defeats of statesmen. About the field kitchen as a model of a world where food preparation becomes a fight strategy; a fight for great ideals standing on strong legs of the kitchen table.
    The film is based on eleven recipes of the cooks since the Second World War till the war in Tchechenia; from France through the Balkans to Russia."

  3. Post author


    That would probably have been funnier than my use of 'over-egging the pudding'...

    More seriously, it seems the Lebensraum policy of Nazi Germany was at least partly agriculturally based, as the East being a 'breadbasket' for good Aryans.

    Sure, I'm not saying there was no agrarian component to the decision to invade the USSR, I just hope the book isn't arguing that strategic reasons, ideology, resources other than food weren't motivations also.


    This seems to be the distributor but they don't appear to do direct sales. They might be able to help you though…

  4. Well obviously Hitler just wanted a bigger market garden, but expansionism for more dahlia space wan't going to sound as credible as more martial dressups. Time to re-evaluate W.W.II as an adjustment of the angles of Axis herbaceous borders!


  5. Well, I was just taking it out of my chest but thanks for the pointer. I have spoken with them and several others. The only available version in DVD has polish subtitles, unfortunately. It seems en subs only in festival screenings :(.

    On other hand, your talk with JDK made me think if ever someone made a board with two columns: A: motivation to do, B: public justification to do. Should result in a good infographic... B can be subdivided, sometimes the public justification depends on which public is addressed at the time.

  6. Post author


    After you!


    And then there are the motivations which are unconscious or structural, so that people aren't even aware of them! History is a very tricky thing.

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