War words have embedded themselves in our collective psyche; British politicians are fond of invoking the 'Dunkirk spirit' whenever the country is faced with major crisis or even minor adversity, and Roosevelt's famous description of Pearl Harbor as 'a date which will live in infamy' was echoed by many US commentators after the 9/11 attacks.
So far, so familiar. Or is it? How many of us know, for instance, that 'Keep Calm and Carry On', far from achieving its morale-boosting aim, was considered at the time to be deeply patronizing by the people it was directed at, and so had only limited distribution?
The 'Word at War' explores 100 phrases spawned and popularized in the lead-up and during the conflict of World War Two. Substantial essays explore and explain the derivations of, and the stories behind, popular terms and phraseology of the period, including wartime speeches (and the words of Churchill, Hitler and FDR); service slang; national stereotypes; food and drink; and codewords.
We're delighted to be hosting an event with the book's eloquent authors Philip Gooden and Peter Lewis at Mostly Books on Monday, October 13 at 7pm. So why not 'Keep Calm and Come Along' to listen as they
Come along and listen as the book's eloquent authors explain the origins of Jeep, SPAM, flak, kamikaze and mega (amongst others) - and how a Daily Telegraph crossword clue almost wrecked D-Day. But more importantly, they examine the way language rapidly develops in times of crisis and disaster.
This is a special launch event, and is free to attend, but space is limited - please email us to reserve your place.