Troubador The Wireless in the Corner

Released: 28/04/2017

eISBN: 9781788030472

Format: eBook

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The Wireless in the Corner

A boy’s eye view of London in peace and war


Based on diary entries, family letters, photography albums and newspaper cuttings, The Wireless in the Corner is the personal account of a boy brought up in London’s suburbia during the second quarter of the 20th century, the years English historian, Asa Briggs, called ‘the Golden Age of Broadcasting’

Drawing on his sharp visual and aural memory, author Alan Palmer recounts his early life as the only child of elderly parents living at Gants Hill in unfashionable Ilford. After a trip to Belgium, aged six, Alan became gripped by the events in Europe and observing international affairs became as much a hobby as collecting stamps. Listening to the wireless every evening, Alan’s childhood is as much a personalised political, social and military history as it is reminiscence.

The Wireless in the Corner is written with the intention of recapturing the strain of the Blitz, and later of flying bombs and rockets, and the relieving moments of peace and contentment that were held so dear to the author. The book carefully distinguishes between what was known then and what readers know now, so as not to obscure events with thoughts based on present assumptions. Inspired by A. J. P Taylor, and similar to the work of Philip Ziegler and A. L. Rowse, The Wireless in the Corner will appeal to readers interested in military history and autobiographies. It will also appeal to those interested in life during the war.

New publication in April 2017:
“The Wireless in the Corner'. This is a personalised history of the years 1926 to 1945 as witnessed by me during a childhood in which I was precociously fascinated by events in Europe. It is based on diary jottings, newspaper cuttings as well as published books to provide a social and political survey of the 1930s and the war years up to VE Day in detail.

Alan Palmer tells us his own gripping story of his early life living in East London in the 1930s, as a boy, and the 1940s as a teenager and young man. He manages to weave fascinating historical detail into the narrative of the build-up to war, with a boy's eye view of the horror and effect on him, his family and friends. A genuine page-turner. A very enjoyable, informative and rewarding book.

by Chris

Alan  Palmer

I am sole author of 34 works, which have been translated into 18 languages and published in 22 countries. I have also worked as a co-author on seven books, five in collaboration with my late wife, Veronica. In 1980 I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

I was born in 1926 at Ilford in metropolitan Essex. My schooling was at Bancroft's, Woodford Green from where I won a scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford. After serving in the navy at the end of the war I read history at Oxford getting a First in 1950. I stayed another year at Oriel, completing work for an M.Litt. thesis on diplomatic history, and in September 1951 was appointed Head of History at Highgate School.

In my biographies and narrative histories I try to apply ways used to inspire Sixth Formers at Highgate. Much though I enjoyed teaching, I retired in 1969 to become a free-lance writer living for 42 years at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. During the original series of BBC Mastermind I supplied over 3,000 specialist questions, mainly on European history or on London's past. For relaxation I enjoy watching cricket, plays and ballet. I have travelled widely, especially in central Europe and the Balkans. My faith is catholic Anglican. I am an Emeritus Lay Reader in the Oxford diocese.

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