I was born on July 4, 1941, in East Knoyle, Wiltshire. Some symbolic import might be gained from the fact that East Knoyle was also the birthplace of Christopher Wren and close to Philip Webb's mansion “Clouds”; also symbolic, given my later life in the United States, was the date itself. My family moved back to Essex later that year. My memories of the war must date from late 1944 and the first months of 1945: air-raid sirens, the huddle beneath the kitchen table (a steel Morrison shelter), the whining of V-2s toward the end of the war, and even once a shock wave that pushed me to the pavement. Also, a few weeks of evacuation to my grandparents in Warwickshire, close to Coventry, which had sustained the better part of the 1941 blitz, and to another shelter, dug in the back garden, of reinforced concrete, damp and cool and a favorite hideout.

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