Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb

I was curious to read Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb – Growing Up in the Not-So-Friendly ‘Baby Boomer’ Years* because I can’t say I know a lot abut life in post-war Britain and next year it’s something I’m going to study. Some of the things mentioned in the book are, frankly, shocking. I gave the book 5 stars. It’s true that the book is a bit repetitive, which is not similar to the other books I’ve read from him. Also, the things he is saying are so far off from what most people believe, that I understand his need to repeat the same example and arguments. I did not take any stars off exactly for this reason.

Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb

The idea of the book is that British baby boomers are nostalgic about the “golden age” where children were playing outside on their own, were happier, and healthier. Personally, I never understood why playing outside is regarded as something aspirational and not a waste of time. I think being involved in different clubs, such as football/basketball, martial arts, dancing are much better options to have exercise while learning how to deal with rules and regulations, with some perceived injustices. [my thoughts, not something from the book] So, at least from this point of view, as in, unsupervised play outside is not good, he was “preaching to the choir”.

Some other arguments could have been developed in other ways, but, nevertheless, I think it’s interesting to consider his arguments and views and, maybe, do a bit of independent research on these issues. I highly recommend the book.

Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes!
Published by: Pen and Sword History
Year it was published: 2017
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History – 20th Century
Pages: 188

About the author: Simon Webb is the author of a number of non-fiction books, ranging from academic works on education to popular history. He works as a consultant on the subject of capital punishment to television companies and filmmakers and also writes for various magazines and newspapers; including the Times Educational Supplement, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.
Books by him: Forgotten Slave Trade; The Analogue Revolution; Post-War Childhood; 1919: Britain’s Year of Revolution; A History of Torture in Britain; British Concentration Camps; First World War Trials and Executions; Bombers, Rioters and Police Killers; Suffragette Fascists; The Suffragette Bombers.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

8 thoughts on “Post-War Childhood by Simon Webb”

  • I would definitely enjoy this book as I like history. I think the sixties were hard for a lot of people in Britain, people tend to idolize some time periods so it good to hear a more realistic take on things.
    Ivana Split recently posted…INSPIRED BY…. VIXMy Profile

    • I agree. It was interesting to see the differences between the situation in Britain and in Romania at the same time, as I was told. Unlike in Britain, in my family, women in the 60s had jobs. Grandmothers were taking care of children, so it was very different.

  • I’m of an age with Yvonne, but I also had siblings up to 14 years older… so several “boomers” (and one “war baby”) in my family. I feel sure there must be similarities between the UK and the US in what he writes about. My first thought with the idea of playing outside, unsupervised, it that it refers to a time when children were (perhaps) more safe outside and/or didn’t need electronic gadgets to be content. (more the latter)
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    • That’s it, it was not safer, but it appears like that because people, including me, tend to remember good things from the past and idealize it. Statistics show another thing though, as he presents in the book.
      Also, I think it depends on what “outside” means. I used to play with toys with a couple of friends outside, but that outside was actually underneath the windows of a neighbour who would watch over us and there were bushes surrounding the area. This is a bit different than playing near the streets, which most of my school colleagues were doing. I wouldn’t let my [imaginary] child play on the streets and I don’t think it was a good idea back then either, but I would let him play like I did. 🙂

      You are right about the gadgets. He points out that aspect too. When inside where were only a couple of things to have fun with, outside was better, now is the other way around.

  • Hi Anca,

    Mmm! Still trying to work out where my views fit in all this.
    I was born in 1958, so probably the next generation on from a ‘baby boomer’, and I wouldn’t really know what life was like before that, only from my parents, who were of that generation.
    I know that when I was growing up, there weren’t the clubs around to join that perhaps you seem to think there were, apart from the odd school youth club, or school football team, at least none which the average income family could afford, as the women mostly stayed at home raising the family and looking after the home, so there was generally only a single income.
    Personally, I was always most happy when I was indoors, either reading, knitting, or doing jigsaw puzzles – not much different to today in actual fact. However when I did go out to play, we were quite happy making our own entertainment, complete with rules I might add. We played hopscotch, skipping, team games (in those days the traffic was almost none existent, so we could play football, tennis etc. in the street), we sat on the kerbside and collected car numbers, went to the local rec. and rode our bikes for miles. Always tired, but always fit and healthy! Not sure where that fits with the author’s thinking, but I guess you and I will just have to differ! Thanks for such an interesting post, a real trip down memory lane 🙂 Yvonne xx

    • With the clubs I meant the situation we have today, when there are options. Some (many) people think letting children outside unsupervised is a good idea and I disagree with that, same as the author. He challenges the perceptions people have. For example, that it was safer because there were less cars, when, in fact, more children died in car accidents back then than they do today. It was not something I was expecting to read either.

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad it brought nice memories. xx

      • I do tend to agree with Anca about not letting children out in the streets to play in this day and age. I don’t know about where you are, but here I just wouldn’t trust anyone and in fact when my eldest niece was of school age, two men stopped a van at the kerbside as she was walking home and tried to entice her in. Luckily she had her wits about her and ran to the nearest house for help, but I guess that proves Anca’s point. However, during the three month long lockdown we had, the same niece and her husband, walked for miles across the downs and through the woods with the two youngsters, rather than stay indoors all day on their tablets or watching TV. They are quite sad now that winter is here, but will still willingly pull on wellies etc. if it means they can escape the house! Were times better then or now? Who knows!! 🙂

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