Civilians into soldiers

War, the body and British Army recruits, 1939–45

By Emma Newlands

Civilians into soldiers


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8804-9
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: September 2014
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Military / World War II, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Second World War, Second World War, Modern warfare, c 1940 to c 1949, History
  • Series: Cultural History of Modern War


Civilians into soldiers is an examination of body cultures in the British Army during the Second World War. Drawing on a wealth of official records and servicemen's personal testimonies, it explores the ways in which male civilians were turned into soldiers through the techniques by which they were inducted into military service. It follows the chronological experiences of wartime recruits, from their enlistment and training to their confrontations with wounding and death, and traces the significance of the body throughout. As such, it provides new ways of understanding how the British prepared for and conducted the Second World War.

Civilians into soldiers will appeal to students and specialists in British social and cultural history, war studies and military medicine and health.


'Civilians Into Soldiers clearly demonstrates how oral history can be successfully combined with the 'official record' to produce rich and complex academic histories, performing the vital function of elucidating the discrepancies between official policy and reality, revealing whether policies were implemented and how and why men negotiated them.'
Joel Morley, Oral History, Spring 2016


1. Examination
2. Training
3. Experimentation
4. Active service
5. Fear, wounding and death


Emma Newlands is a Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde

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