A Very Private Diary

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781409154297

Price: £18.99

ON SALE: 10th July 2014

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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Mary Mulry was eighteen years old when she arrived in London from Ireland to begin training as a nurse. The year was 1939. She had hoped for an adventure and a new start; she could not have predicted what the next seven years would bring.

In this extraordinary diary Mary recorded in intimate detail her experiences as a nurse on the Home Front and later working on the frontline in Europe. In London, she nursed critically ill children during bombing raids and narrowly escaped with her life in one the worst nights of the Blitz. In Normandy, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she tended to Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she witnessed harrowing casualties from the Battle of Arnhem.

Yet romance, glamour and adventure were never far away for Mary, even if her relationships often had to be cut short. ‘I always seem to be saying good-bye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time,’ she writes.

Nurses were not allowed to keep diaries on active service, but Mary – fortunately for us – was not one for following rules. Her rebellious spirit, sharp wit and irrepressible personality shine through the pages of her ‘very private diary’, published now for the first time.

Read by Lara Hutchinson

(p) 2014 Orion Publishing Group

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Reviews

Mary Morris's absorbing diary is a tonic to so many outsized histories of the second World War by those who had not been there. ....In pithy, occasionally sardonic entries, Morris builds a picture of the pity of war and, above all, the moral and material ruins of post-Hitler Germany, where she danced the nights away in Allied officers clubs but also got to know the stench of diphtheria ("so foul and sickly") and gangrene. The scenes of horror and distress she recorded are leavened by childhood reminiscences of the Connemara coast and the glories of whiskey fruit cake.
Ian Thomson, THE IRISH TIMES
Keeping a diary during active service was forbidden, so this book offers a rare insight into the important roles of nurses, both on the Home Front and the frontline during the Second World War from their own viewpoint.
Verity Rogers, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
Diaries transport us back to the events they describe with a vividness other sources cannot match. This diary, recently discovered in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, was kept by Irish nurse Mary Morris to record her experiences during and after the Second World War. Her strength of character and spirit shine through. ....day and night she faced the grim experience of nursing battle casualties. The constant hunger from insufficient rations, catching diphtheria, and being injured by shrapnel failed to daunt her.
John Adams, NURSING STANDARD
Throughout it all, Mary's sense of humour and her high spirits rarely failed ... Mary is a talented writer and a humane observer of her remarkable experiences. Her diary is full of vivid, sometimes shocking vignettes ... [A] fascinating and deeply moving book
Jane Shilling, DAILY MAIL
A remarkable work ... [Mary] was a lucid observer of some of the most cataclysmic events in history
Ronan McGreevy, IRISH TIMES
We know so much about Mary's war because she broke the rules. Keeping a diary was strictly forbidden while on active service, which makes Mary's remarkably complete account all the more exceptional
DAILY EXPRESS