World War II was, among other things, a great "reading and writing" war. There was a passion for books of all kinds, and also a remarkable outpouring of personal writing in the form of letters and diaries. The latter were actually forbidden in the services because they might fall into enemy hands, but this did not prevent them from being kept in startling quantities. The young especially, whether on the Home Front or fighting, became extraordinary self-examiners and communicators, finding all kinds of outlets for what was happening to them in the shape of private records and correspondence. It was a time when people lived for letters, and when, since much of the war was spent in boredom by the average participant, reading became the perfect escape. Half of the book is made up of the wartime writing of the author's friends and the other half has been drawn from the Department of Documents at the Imperial War Museum. It is a personal statement that makes shifts from pain, despair and death to absurdity, laughter and bravery. The author also wrote "A Treasonable Growth", "Akenfield", "The View in Winter", "The Age of Illusion" and "Writing in a War".