Mass Observation and the Making of the Modern Self
Nine Wartime Lives uses diaries kept by nine 'ordinary' people in wartime Britain to re-evaluate the social history of the war, and to reflect on the twentieth-century making of the modern self. These diaries were written by some of the unusually self-reflective and public-spirited people who agreed to write intimate journals about their daily activity for the social research organisation, Mass Observation. Placing individuals at the centre of his
analysis, James Hinton probes the impact of war on attitudes to citizenship, the changing relationships between men and women, and the search for meanings in life that could transcend the wartime context of limitless
violence, while resisting nostalgic contrasts between the presumed dutiful citizenship of wartime Britain and contemporary anti-social individualism.