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COMING SOON: WWII Bombing of British Cities and Contested Remembrance

Civilian experience and its commemoration since 1945

John Sharrock
Publication Year:
192 pages, Illustrated throughout in black & white, and colour.
Sub-series name:
UCL Institute of Archaeology PhD Series, 10
BAR number:
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Conflict in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, at the time of writing, highlights the terrible price that is paid by civilians in war. This book focuses on the myth of the Blitz as experienced today, especially in the context of civilian deaths. It contends that the substantial civilian toll of the bombing of British cities in WWII has become marginalised by the evolution, political deployment, and resonance of the myth of the Blitz. This is achieved through interdisciplinary methodologies including historiography, the archaeology of remembrance, and agency analysis. Research among remembrance activists and communities exposes how myth is simplified by acts of commemoration, the exposure of private memory in public form, and an archaeology of civilian remembrance.

John Sharrock attended Birkbeck’s Lifelong Studies evening programme through 2005-2010, attaining a Diploma in Archaeology. His MA Archaeology was awarded in 2011 by the Institute of Archaeology at UCL where he also undertook graduate research studies leading to the award of a doctorate in Modern Conflict Archaeology in 2022.


‘The study makes an original and significant contribution to understanding the prevailing narrative of the ‘Blitz spirit’ and its neglect of civilian wartime experience and casualties. Its strengths lie in its multi-stranded analysis of the development of civilian remembrance and its use of an explicitly archaeological approach, concentrating on the physical memorials to the dead.’ Emeritus Professor Ruth D. Whitehouse, University College London