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Best-selling author Donald James grew up in World's End, Chelsea during the Blitz years. Just on the edge of a fashionable middle class world, his childhood experience was in stark contrast to the privileged, bourgeois lifestyle glimpsed a few hundred yards away. He grew up in stark poverty and depredation, a hard existence yet shot through by the humour and courage of his family and neighbours. This was a now vanished world of grimy factories and generating plants, coal drays, flat caps and boozers, betting shops, dog tracks, 'Piccadilly girls', Guinness Trust buildings and bare foot children. World's End was a melting pot of the working class labourers who flooded to London in the previous century to make their fortunes, and Donald's family was no exception. The story tells of the feud between Donald's two grandmothers that meant that though they only lived a few yards apart, for over a dozen years they never acknowledged one another even at Donald's parent's weeding, Christmases or birthday celebrations. Though it was hard, Donald's was a happy childhood until the war came. Donald was eight. The radio carried news of impending war and then the declaration of war, difficult to b
DONALD WHEAL is the real name of DONALD JAMES, the critically acclaimed thriller writer of Monstrum, The Fortune Teller and Vadim. As Donald Wheal he has also written The Fall of the Russian Empire and The Penguin Dictionary of the Third Reich.