NO TIME TO WAVE GOODBYE by Ben Wicks

NO TIME TO WAVE GOODBYE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wicks, an English journalist living in Canada, tells the little-known story of the evacuation of three-and-a-half million English children from their urban homes to the countryside during the early days of WW II. Wicks was himself one of those evacuees (another was famed actor Michael Caine, who contributes an introduction), so his story is punctuated with the pathos of personal experience. He opens with a short historical sketch of the early British plans for moving children out of harm's way, plans that had their genesis in the German air-bomb raids in the latter stages of WW I. As early as 1924, a committee was established to formulate an evacuation policy for a future war. These plans focused on poor children, Wicks explains, since the wealthy would, presumably, have their own means of getting their children to safety. But this proposal stumbled on the problem of ensuring that rural ""foster parents"" would be willing to welcome ""urchins"" into their homes for an unspecified period. When Wicks then turns to the actual experiences of children, his account is touching and sometimes sad. Most of the children are enthusiastic about their journeys into the countryside (one child is quoted as turning to her sister and saying, ""For goodness sake, this is fun""; the same child says goodbye to her mother: ""Cheerio, Mum, we're off""). In all, the program was a great success, but many children were also abused by their ""foster parents,"" and some went back later to confront the issues that still blocked them. Wicks scored a success with this book in England and Canada, where it was a number-one best-seller. Although its prospects aren't quite so bright here, readers who do pick up this moving story will be pleased.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's