Chapter

Ernest van Someren: The good life

James Hinton

in Nine Wartime Lives

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199574667
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574667.003.0007
Ernest van Someren: The good life

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This chapter focuses on wartime diarist Ernest van Someren. Ernest was a scientist, family man, civic activist, Quaker, pacifist, and socialist. He enjoyed a rich intellectual and cultural life in concert with his wife and friends in an affluent Home Counties suburb. But even while he lived the ‘new life’ Ernest had his devils to confront, if only because his lifestyle depended on a successful career as a research chemist in war industry. Reading between the lines, and with the help of his responses to MO's monthly directives, one can glimpse the ways in which his civic activism helped to assuage the contradiction he was living between his pacifist beliefs and the satisfactions he derived from his work in war industry and the privileged lifestyle that it paid for.

Keywords: Ernest van Someren; diaries; diarists; Second World War; chemists; pacifists; civic activist

Chapter.  6671 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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