The Shrapnel Pickers tells two stories. The main theme is the true first person account of a boy's life in war torn England. From the London Blitz, through evacuations to the well-bombed midlands, and back in time for rockets and flying bombs, the reader is led through encounters with the black market, rationing, nights and days in air raid shelters; pubs, music halls and playground fights. The writer takes us through the action-filled, sometimes tragic, sometimes comic, events of his childhood.
With each chapter there is a chronological list of the major world events happening in the big war.
The author now lives in New England, and after 11 September 2001 he must have thought his life had come full circle. The New York of 2001 felt a lot like the London of 1940, with the same civility, helpfulness and comradeship. "It did not last, of course," he says. "As in London after the bombing, as soon as the danger seemed over ... everyone went back to normal!"