Guernsey Occupation Diaries 1940-1945

by Douglas Ord Blue Ormer

Over 600 pages (with maps and photographs) these Guernsey Occupation Diaries 1940-1945 of Reverend Douglas Ord are the most significant original source to have emerged from the Channel Islands Occupation by the Germans in WWII.  They were not written by an historian or chronicler who put pen to paper after the event but by a direct witness; and one – good fortune saw to that – whose intellectual acumen, range of interest and sheer knowledge were not easily matched.  Therein lies the chief virtue of the diaries of this extraordinary man.

Ord never slips into tedium but consistently remains on track to deliver the salient insight or illuminating anecdote.  His prose is as crisp as his witticisms are memorable.  Scrupulously fair in his judgements, his framing of the moral pitfalls of occupation is exemplary.  Ord cultivated relations with a wide range of different people and personalities.  Realising it was impossible to avoid all contact with the occupiers in small Guernsey, he developed his own benchmark or ‘golden rule’ for dealing with the ethics of the situation.  This treasure trove of an eye witness account has always deserved a wider audience and John Nettles has done a stellar job bringing it to us.

“Absolutely fascinating.  A vivid and unforgettable eye witness account.  Ord brilliantly captures the day to day fear and struggle of Occupation.  It is a terrific piece of work.”

Madeleine Bunting

 

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