In recent years there has been a remarkable resurgence of interest in personal stories of the people who lived during the Second World War - Hard Labour explores the experiences of girls and women recruited as EVWs from the Baltic states. At the centre of this work are the voices of these now elderly Baltic women who fled from Latvia in 1944 in the face of advancing Russian front - voices that until now have been largely ignored by history. Recruited from displaced person camps to work in Britain after the war ended, their stories allow the author to explore feminist perspectives on work and employment, as well as the larger cultural issues of diasporic populations and the theories of social and collective memories.
Linda McDowell is a Professor in the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St John's College and an honorary fellow of the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics. She is well-known for her detailed case studies of changing labour market conditions in contemporary Britain, including working in the City of London after 'Big Bang' (Capital Culture: gender at work in the City 1997) and life for unskilled young men in bottom end service jobs (Redundant Masculinities? 2003). Here she turns her analytic eye on the recent past, drawing on many hours of recorded interviews with elderly women.