This book begins with a sceptical nine-year-old Bryan Magee being taught the facts of life. It goes on to tell the story of the Second World War as seen through a child's eye. He was in some of the earliest air raids on London, and his family home was bombed. Like more than a million other children, he was sent away as an evacuee, first to a tiny village and then a market town, where he lived with two very different families. In this memoir, the atmosphere of wartime England is nostalgically evoked, the community spirit in a society before television, where very few had cars or telephones. A kid from the East End, he won a scholarship to one of the country's ancient public schools and found the Battle of Britain raging overhead. During the school holidays, he returned to London and the air raids, the doodlebugs and V2 rockets. Wartime London is brought vividly to life, the streets teeming by day and empty at night, the theatres opening before blackout and even the cheap restaurants conquering the challenges of rationing. With the war over, Bryan's school sent him to a Lycée in Versailles and he explores the Paris of those post-war years. Then, back in England but still at school, he tumbles into his first love affair with an older woman. The book comes to an end with his call-up into the army, and his unexpected posting to the School of Military Intelligence.