Before the Last All Clear (Evans)

Book Reviews 
Some recall it as the greatest adventure of their lives. For others, being a wartime evacuee was a nightmare. These are the witty yet deeply poignant memories of a man still haunted by the cruelties he endured. During World War II, around three and a half million British children were evacuated away from possible air raids in the big cities in one of the largest social upheavals Great Britain has ever seen. One of those children was Ray Evans. This is the story of a young evacuee from Liverpool sent to live in the Welsh town of Llanelli. Separated from his mother, brothers and sisters, six-year old Ray was dispatched to a series of families who ignored, exploited and brutalised him. Pushed from pillar to post, he finally finds happiness with a family who make him so welcome that he is reluctant to leave when war ends. Set in a world of ration books, air-raid sirens and ever-present danger, this is a candid and direct account of wartime Britain as seen through the eyes of a child..
Daily Mail (UK)


A superb portrait of wartime Britain seen from a child’s perspective, and recalled in astounding and excruciating detail by a man who lived through it and tells all. Before the Last All Clear is a superb memoir, but more importantly, it is a vivid and uniquely personal morsel of history that any reader will find difficult to forget.
Book Review.com (www.bookreview.com)

 
At the age of six, Evans, along with thousands of other British children, was separated from his family, home and school and sent to the safety of the English countryside during WWII. In his memoir, the author recalls the emotions of a small child who misses his mother and family. While it may be easy for readers to become emotional when it comes to this kind of story, Evan’s touching account is indeed a tearjerker; he aptly recaptures his fear and the feeling of being lost as he made his way to his temporary home. He presents a tale of horror as he relives the memories of two homes where he stayed during the evacuation period. As a castoff evacuee, Evans was often mistreated by the families with whom he stayed, enduring what Western society today would consider child abuse. By the time the author reaches his third and final home, he loves it so much that he almost doesn’t want to leave. Evans’ illustrative writing capably paints each scene, making it easy to imagine the conditions in which he lived. In fact, it would be realistic to picture this cute young boy’s life portrayed on screen. Before the Last All Clear is a well-written account of a lovable protagonist who yearns for a sense of normalcy—all while remaining optimistic that the war will soon end and better days are ahead. A beautiful memoir of WWII as seen through the eyes of a child.
Kirkus Reviews

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