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During World War II, the BBC?the "auntie" of the title?provided not only news and entertainment but also a sense of social unity and an enormous boost to the morale of a war-torn population. Through its power, Churchill was able to address the whole nation, as Roosevelt did in his radio "fireside chats." Hickman, a British journalist and former corporate editor of the BBC, has put together a generously illustrated, popular history of the BBC during the war years. It will nicely complement Asa Briggs's The War of Words (1971), Volume 3 of his scholarly, multivolume History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom (1961). Suitable for public and academic libraries, especially for collections in media and communications.?Patricia A. Beaber, Trenton State Coll. Lib., N.J.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Having lived in Ireland during World War II, Hickman first heard the reporting and entertainment he describes here after 1945. Corporate editor of the BBC from 1988 to 1993, he bases this wide-ranging popular history of the wartime BBC on Briggs' classic history of U.K. broadcasting, the dozens of books BBC employees have written over the past 50 years, and other materials and staff interviews. When Hitler took Poland, the BBC was an "aloof and impenetrable organization" with a "vestigial" news operation and a "virtually nonexistent" reputation beyond the U.K.; the way it met the war's challenges made it "an indispensable part of British national life" and "the world's unrivaled international broadcaster." Hickman covers policy debates, listener response, hugely popular variety and music shows, and technological breakthroughs that gave war correspondents mobility. Photographs display BBC stars and staff and suggest the demanding conditions under which they worked, and their civilian and military audiences listened. Mary Carroll