George Arliss – The Hidden Years: Letters from World War II

I am pleased to announce the publication of our new book. This is an entirely new work of research where we can now share Mr. A’s daily accounts of living in World War II London through his letters that he wrote to friends. These letters have never been published before and offer a personal account of his daily life that at times are amusing and sometimes sad. In addition to sheltering from the nightly bombing attacks by the German Luftwaffe, Mr. A also was the caregiver to his wife, Florence, who had lost her eyesight and was coping with a variety of other ailments.

Arliss decided to spend the war years in London, literally Ground-Zero for German bombers, when he could have joined his friends in sunny California. If he regretted this decision, he never even hinted at this in his many letters. His daily life included nightly aerial assaults from Nazi planes, V-1 and V-2 rockets flying over his home. Throughout these bombardments, Arliss maintained a lively correspondence with his American friends who were safely located in the states, as well as British friends who were safely out of harms’ way in other parts of Britain.

Mr. A had written two volumes of memoirs, the second being published just as the war broke out. Far from being antique writings that reflect a bygone age, this new work is a third volume of his memoirs that vividly describe perhaps the worst time in his life. The George Arliss wartime letters vividly echo the 21st century trauma endured by the COVID lockdowns and the devastation of the Russo-Ukraine War. The book is extensively illustrated with rare photographs, maps of the London bombing attacks, and appendices documenting his stage and film work.

This book is available in three formats: hardcover, paperback, and Kindle ebook, all through Amazon. Members of Kindle Unlimited can read the book for free.

Excerpts from the Kirkus review: “… (Arliss) was, as Fells observes, a ‘prolific letter writer,’ one who managed, no matter who the correspondent was, to combine great generosity and candor with a lighthearted wit. The author collects here a trove of
communications that date from 1909 to 1945, the year before Arliss’ death, the most intriguing of which were written in
England during World War II. With astonishing composure, Arliss relates the ‘harrowing times’ he lived through, especially
the daily air raids mercilessly waged by German fighter planes, a dangerous threat that made the ‘blackness of the night
rather terrifying.’ Moreover, in addition to the perils and deprivations the war delivered, Arliss had to contend with an ill wife
who was losing her sight: ‘My life is violently changed from the days that were all too short for my liking. Now, I am with Flo
all day and every day; in addition to her nervous condition, her eyes are so bad that they do not allow her to either read or
write; so we are cut off from the theatre and the cinema; it is more than a year since I visited either.’ Fells supplies readers
with astutely informative commentaries regarding the circumstances of each letter, including Arliss’ interlocutor, and
adorns the book with marvelous pictures of the artist, his friends, and various miscellany like playbills….”

Published in: on December 2, 2022 at 2:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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