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A Moment in Time
Page Count
Word Count
Farrar, Straus & Company
Michael Joseph
Woman's Own
Publication Year
Document Types
Film & Television
Radio Dramatizations
Pilots, Kent, War

London: Michael Joseph, 1964; New York: Farrar, Straus & Company, 1964.
Serialized in Woman's Own (an installment identified in the May 1964 issue, other installments not identified).

A woman's reminiscence of one year in her life, at the time of the Battle of Britain in 1940, of her coming-of-age as well as that of her circle of friends, of the effect of war on English country life, and of the spirit and lingo of the Royal Air Force pilots interacting with the rural life of Southern England. Many of the young characters mirror those of Flying Officer X stories. In a number of minor details the novel allows Bates an opportunity to draw upon past work (an anecdote about fish responding to a bomber attack, the allusion to the phrase "Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori," previously a chapter title in O More Than Happy Countryman), and such phrases as "It's just the way it is." As noted by Baldwin (1987, p. 155), the setting of much of the story is a Georgian mansion based on Shopwyke House just outside Chichester. The house was requisitioned during WW2 and served as the Mess to RAF Tangmere, where Bates was stationed in 1942. Many of his Flying Officer X stories are about the fighter pilots based at Tangmere.

A four-episode television adaptation, directed by Renny Rye and produced by the BBC, was broadcast in September 1979. The book was dramatised by Michael Robson for BBC Radio in 1982 in a production starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

The New York Times says "Mr. Bates, writing here at the top of his form, has caught the spirit of those desperate days and rendered it in scenes that are both tender and magnificent." Best Sellers called it a 'splendid, satisfying work.'


  • Books Abroad (Autumn 1965, p. 452, Ruth Van Horn Zuckerman, attached)
  • Books and Bookmen (September 1964, p. 24, attached)
  • New York Times (August 9, 1964, p. BR19, Aileen Pippett, attached)
  • Saturday Review of Literature (August 8, 1964, p. 35, Eric Moon, attached)
  • Spectator (September 11, 1964, p. 346, D.C. Kay, attached)
  • Times (September 10, 1964, p. 15, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (September 10, 1964, p. 838, Peter H. Sutliffe, attached)
  • Best Sellers (August 15, 1964, pp. 182-183, Jane Oppenheim, attached)
  • Sunday Telegraph (September 13, 1964, p. 19, Isabel Quigly, attached)