Sixty years since the end of World War Two, Times Group historians Percy Reboul and John Heathfield have published an expanded and newly illustrated version of their classic book Barnet at War. For the first time, it includes a complete list of the borough's civilian war dead. Here it is reviewed by Gerrard Roots, curator of Hendon's Church Farmhouse Museum

Earlier this year, World War Two veterans (and others) were highly critical of what they regarded as the meagreness of the commemorations of the 60th anniversary of VE Day. Days of Darkness, just published, plays a part in redressing that imbalance.

In a much-expanded both in text and in (well-chosen) illustrations version of their Barnet at War (1995), well-known local historians Percy Reboul and John Heathfield reveal the fear and privation that made up life on the Home Front from 1939 to 1945.

Although our area perhaps received less of the incessant bombing that pounded, say, London's Docklands, it suffered more than enough from the air war and shared most of central London's same miseries food, clothing and fuel shortages, transport failures, petty bureaucracy, looting, the sheer boredom of shelter life, and one added misery of its own.

Jewish refugees from Nazism, who had settled in places such as Hendon and Golders Green in the 1930s, found themselves rounded up and interned in the early days of the war, as they were regarded with bitter irony as being a potential fifth column of traitors.

However, despite the dire predictions of politicians in the mid-1930s that the working classes were bound to crack, run, panic and even go mad, lacking as they do, the self-discipline of their masters', they did not and the tolerance, self-sacrifice and bravery of people in the emergency and rescue services and of ordinary citizens alike, is something the authors bring out well.

They particularly stress, and rightly, the role of women: By 1943, 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were in war work of some importance'. The world had changed forever.

Days of Darkness is a fascinating contribution to our understanding, on a local level, of a period which, 60 years on, still looms large in the national consciousness, colouring our attitudes to Europe and to America, especially, and influencing our response to current conflicts, such as Iraq and the so-called war on terror'.

l Days of Darkness by Percy Reboul and John Heathfield is published by Sutton Publishing, at £12.99. It is available from Church Farmhouse Museum in Greyhound Hill, Hendon, as well as Barnet libraries and archives and all good bookshops.