Stephen Bourne

stephen bourne

Mother Country - Britain's Black Community on the Home Front 1939-45

(The History Press, 2010)

MOTHER COUNTRY unearths a hidden history of Britain and the Second World War. This new book highlights the contribution to the British war effort made by black Britons. These include community leaders Dr Harold Moody, Learie Constantine, BBC broadcaster Una Marson, London air raid warden E. I. Ekpenyon, fire watcher Esther Bruce (an adopted aunt to Stephen Bourne), bandleader Ken Snakehips Johnson and black senior citizens who have been interviewed by Bourne about their memories of the home front in West Africa and the Caribbean. Despite some evidence of racism, black people contributed to the war effort where they could. The colonies also played an important role in the war effort: support came from places as far away as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Nigeria. Mother Country tells the story of some of the forgotten Britons whose contribution to the war effort has been overlooked until now.

"The most original British wartime social history I have read in some years. Well researched, Bourne's book tells a genuinely overlooked, interesting and important aspect of our wartime history. An uplifting read." (Austin Ruddy, Leicester Mercury)

"This well researched book blends personal experience with historical fact. Readers will relish this new perpsective on World War Two." (Family History Monthly)

"Bourne has done an invaluable service with this wide-ranging book, which is illuminated with biographies, many of them original interviews. A wonderful introduction to many facets of this history." (Marika Sherwood, BBC History Magazine)

"Bourne's book deserves a wide readership: it is an accessible introduction and should inspire future hsitorians to take further the story of Britain's black community in wartime." (Daniel Whittall, History Today)