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Book Review: The food companions: cinema and consumption in wartime Britain, 1939-45

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The Second World War has long been the subject of a rich vein of academic writing, and popular interest in the conflict, ever-growing as significant anniversaries are reached, ensures that the war remains a constant in the British public’s consciousness. The effects of the war on the home front have been of especial interest, particularly in popular imaginings of the conflict. Indeed, last year’s 70th anniversary of the Blitz resulted in a stream of news coverage, both local and national, that reported on the many remembrance services being held across the country to commemorate the impact of the air-raids on the civilian population; while television documentaries evocatively assessed the effects of the Blitz on people living in Britain’s most affected cities. The Food Companions: Cinema and Consumption in Wartime Britain, 1939-45, Richard Farmer’s first book, and published as part of Manchester University’s Press’s ‘Studies in Popular Culture’ series, is thus not only very timely, it is also highly pertinent. Investigating the role of food and consumption during the war, and paying particular attention to the impact of rationing on the civilian population, as well as the role of the government in attempting to win public approval on this delicate issue through the use of the Ministry of Food’s (MoF) multi-media campaigns, The Food Companions provides a highly nuanced and extremely well-considered account of the social, economic and cultural impact of the conflict on British society’s home front. Richard Farmer, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2011, ISBN: 9780719083136; 224pp.; Price: £60.00
Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews in History
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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