Elizabeth Hillman enrolled at McGill University the week World War II began. As a freshman writing for the McGill Daily,
she covered torchlight football parades and dances at the Ritz Carleton hotel while elsewhere the paper reported U-boats
torpedoing convoys and war planes plummeting into the British channel.
Blitzkrieg and Jitterbugs draws on her journal entries, articles from the Daily, and headlines from the Montreal Gazette
to paint a vivid picture of day-to-day life on campus, alongside the civilian wartime experience in Canada. Part memoir, part history,
the book touches on important feminist issues of the day, provides historical detail on both McGill University and Canada's
participation in World War II, and is punctuated with candid glimpses into both the social and intellectual aspects of university life
during a three-year tenure at McGill.
Charmingly written with subtle ironies, Blitzkrieg and Jitterbugs includes photos collected from scrapbooks, albums, and the McGill
archives to vividly highlight aspects of wartime life as experienced far from the battlefields.
"As a memoir of one person’s wartime experience it is an engaging read, providing a snapshot of life in English-speaking Montreal in the 1940s, and vividly
evoking the disconnect between that world and the conflict unfolding in Europe."
Kate Forrest, Montreal Review of Books
"Waterston's charming personal account of her undergraduate years at McGill expertly contrasts the starry-eyed expectations of an innocent young
student with newspaper headlines and quotations documenting the growing horror and gloom of war."
Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University
"Blitzkrieg and Jitterbugs is a highly enjoyable read, as well as being a highly informative glimpse into McGill's past."
Richard Martyn-Hemphill, The McGill Tribune
"Her first-hand accounts combine to create a time capsule of social and intellectual aspects of day-to-day life far from the battlefields."
Danelle Cloutier, Canada's History Magazine
"Elizabeth Hillman Waterston gives us a very particular picture of what it was like going to university – McGill – while the country had just started World War II."
Anne McDougall, Books on Beechwood