Ending – or concluding – a draft of Animals on the Home Front
I have now finished the first (sic) draft of my book on the cat and dog and massacre at the start of the 1939 -45 war and the subsequent changing human – animal relationship on the Home Front . I always find it difficult writing a conclusion because, of course, nothing is ever settled or finished in the writing of history. However, if the chapter is simply called an ending it can sound a bit pretentious if one is trying to write for a wider audience than just academia.
Another issue is whether the conclusion should end with 1945 or, more accurately, with 2015 since the book is obviously written now and IS about now. By that I mean interests and themes are very much of the C21st rather than the 1940s. Social and cultural history had yet to come into its own and the idea of thinking that animals could be active agents in the making of history would have been unfathomable at that time.
I had originally thought of ending the book with the absence of the massacre in the war memorials that commemorate animals killed in war. (The one at the National Memorial Arboretum is only for those officially working in Civil Defence.) But, as is often the case, that topic went into the introduction.
I have now sent off the draft to various kind friends and colleagues who have agreed to give me some feedback while I work on putting the footnotes and bibliography into the format required by the University of Chicago Press. This is not difficult but very tedious especially if you are short-sighted and cannot easily differentiate between a full stop or a comma …