Through the diaries of nine men and women We Shall Never Surrender tells the story of the war as they experienced it, whether at home struggling simply to keep going, in high office with direct influence on its outcome, or protesting against it. Some of them, like Alan Brooke, who became Chief of the General Staff, the politician Harold Nicolson or the pacifist writer Vera Brittain, are well known. Others – Anne Garnett, the wife of a country solicitor, George Beardmore, a young husband and father with ambitions to become a novelist, or Clara Milburn, a contended wife and mother of an adult son – are not. But in their diaries they all – together with the diplomat Charles Ritchie, the novelist Naomi Mitchison and the resourceful and frequently unconventional Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly –followed the war in their diaries from outbreak to victory. For some, keeping a diary was a way of documenting their hopes and fears for an unforeseen future. For others, it was a way of carefully preserving their lives on the page, uncertain in what state they would find the world the next time they woke. Together they constitute a remarkable record of human endeavour and human cost, at a time when the whole world was locked in conflict and it often seemed that the outcome rested on the shoulders of one small island.
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