This utterely compelling memoir opens with a sceptical nine-year-old Bryan Magee being taught the facts of life. It goes on to tell the story of the Second World War as seen through a child's eyes. He experienced some of the earliest air raids on London, and his family home was bombed. Like more than a million other children, he was sent away as an evacuee, first to a tiny village and then to a market town, where he lived with two remarkable and very different families.Growing Up in a War nostalgically evokes the atmostphere of wartime England, the community spirit of a society before television, where very few had cars or telephones. A kid from the East End, he won a scholarship to one of the country's ancient public schools and found the Battle of Britain ragin overhead. During the school holidays, he returned to London and the air raids, the doodlebugs and V2 rockets. Wartime London is brought vividly to life, the streets teeming by day and empty at night, the theatres opening before blackout, and even the cheap restaurants conquering the challenges of rationing.With the war over, Bryan's school sent him to a Lycee in Versailles, and he explores the Paris of those post-war years. Then, back in England but still at school, he tumbles into his first love affair, with an older woman. The book comes to an end with his call-up into the army, and his unexpected posting to the School of Military Intelligence.
Bryan Magee has had a many-sided career. In the 1960s and '70s, he worked in broadcasting as a current affairs reporter on ITV and a critic of the arts on BBC Radio 3. At one time he taught philosophy at Oxford, where he was a tutor at Balliol College. His best-remembered television programmes are two long series about philosophy- for the first he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Television Society, while the book on which he based the second series on was a bestseller. From 1974 to 1983 he was Member of Parliament for Leyton, first as Labour, then as a Social Democrat and he is now a full-time author. His last book, Clouds of Glory, was awarded the J. R. Ackerley Prize for autobiography. His others have been translated into more than twenty languages.