'The real war started for me today,' So begins the diary of 18-year-old Mary Mulry, a young Irish nurse, newly arrived in London in 1940. Over the next seven years she witnesses many of the pivotal events of the war at first hand. In London during the Blitz she sees a young woman die after a botched abortion, narrowly escapes from the bombing of the Alexandra Hotel, and nurses critically ill children during bombing raids in Woolwich. In Normandy in 1944, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she nurses Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she records harrowing stories of casualties from the Battle of Arnhem. In these extraordinary diaries we see a young woman coming of age, falling in and out of love several times over ('I always seem to be saying good-bye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time,' she writes). She eventually meets and falls in love with a young British Army officer and agrees to marry him two weeks later. The diary ends in Hamburg in 1947 with the birth of her son. Mary's distinctive voice, sharp wit, rebellious spirit and irrepressible personality make her diary entries feel just as immediate, dramatic and moving today as when they were first written seventy years ago.
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Comments about A Very Private Diary:
This is a wonderful account of a young Irish nurse following the frontline in World War II. It covers many key events, from the Dunkirk evacuation, Battle of Britain and the Blitz to the Normandy landings, the disastrous battle of Arnham and the aftermath in Germany. All these events are experienced or the tales of soldiers are recounted. This made it a fascinating read for me.
Comments about A Very Private Diary:
This diary reads like a novel of World War II from the perspective of a young Irish nurse. From the battle of Britain pilots to the Blitz, into France with the Normandy landings and to the disastrous battle of Arnham, Mary tells the stories of the soldiers and from the frontline.
I would read this if you are interested in a starkly honest and gripping tale of the major events of world war II.
Mary Morris's absorbing diary is a tonic to so many outsized histories of the second World War by those who had not been there. ...In pithy, occasionally sardonic entries, Morris builds a picture of the pity of war and, above all, the moral and material ruins of post-Hitler Germany, where she danced the nights away in Allied officers clubs but also got to know the stench of diphtheria ("so foul and sickly") and gangrene. The scenes of horror and distress she recorded are leavened by childhood reminiscences of the Connemara coast and the glories of whiskey fruit cake. -- Ian Thomson THE IRISH TIMES Keeping a diary during active service was forbidden, so this book offers a rare insight into the important roles of nurses, both on the Home Front and the frontline during the Second World War from their own viewpoint. -- Verity Rogers WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE Diaries transport us back to the events they describe with a vividness other sources cannot match. This diary, recently discovered in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, was kept by Irish nurse Mary Morris to record her experiences during and after the Second World War. Her strength of character and spirit shine through. ...day and night she faced the grim experience of nursing battle casualties. The constant hunger from insufficient rations, catching diphtheria, and being injured by shrapnel failed to daunt her. -- John Adams NURSING STANDARD Throughout it all, Mary's sense of humour and her high spirits rarely failed ... Mary is a talented writer and a humane observer of her remarkable experiences. Her diary is full of vivid, sometimes shocking vignettes ... [A] fascinating and deeply moving book -- Jane Shilling DAILY MAIL A remarkable work ... [Mary] was a lucid observer of some of the most cataclysmic events in history -- Ronan McGreevy IRISH TIMES
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 12th June 2014
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.5 x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.58
Edition Number: 1