Tag Archives: Walden

Book Review – Entertaining the Troops: 1939–1945

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – This is the first book by Kiri Bloom Walden. Entertaining the Troops: 1939–1945 was published in 2019. This was the 94th book I completed in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! I categorize this book as G. The book looks at the efforts made by the British to entertain their troops during WWII.

A few different organizations were created to bring entertainment to the troops. One of the first was the ENSA, Entertainment National Service Association, in 1939. The majority of their programs were variety shows. In 1940 CEMA, the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts was formed. Their events were usually smaller and more culturally oriented. This organization eventually grew into the Arts Council of Great Britain.

For those in the military, there wer other groups. The RAF Gang Shows provided a means for those in the RAF to entertain their brothers in arms. A similar organization, Stars in Battledress, served the Army and ATS. Even for those held in POW camps, the troops often put together programs for their fellow inmates.

Many in the service were exposed for the first time to ballet and Shakespeare. For entertainers, these organizations provided a start to long and successful careers.

I enjoyed the 1+ hour I spent reading this 91-page WWII-era history. The cover art is simple but portrays the goal of the book. I give this book a rating of 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 600 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.