On 8 October Seren Books will publish Dear Mona, a new book by Jonah Jones and his son and biographer Peter Jones.
In the words of the announcement on the Seren Books website , the book, subtitled Letters from a Conscientious Objector:
“… records in his own words not just the story of his early life and his relationship with Mona Lovell, but also that of the Second World War, of being on the Home Front, on the European battlefield and in the nascent Israel.
These letters are a remarkable first-hand account of how Jones’ character evolved. Like a number of conscientious objectors he eventually took a more active role in the fight against fascism by becoming a non-arms-bearing medic. In this role he was parachuted into northern Europe and took part in the Ardennes and German campaigns, and in the liberation of the Belsen concentration camp.
After the war he was posted to Palestine, where he observed the issues surrounding the establishment of Israel, but was also able to hone his artistic skills for the benefit of his regiment. It was in Haifa that, much to Mona Lovell’s dismay, he met and married another woman – Judith Grossman – with whom he returned to Britain to set up as an artist, now known as Jonah Jones.
Dear Mona gives detailed insight into the evolution of Jones’ character, as he changed from gauche Len Jones to artist Jonah Jones. It also tells in intimate detail the story of the Home Front, of conscientious objection, of the European campaign following D Day and of the tensions in Palestine, which resonate still today. It is a remarkable, immediate account: personal, intimate and yet also history, played out before his eyes.”
Peter Jones, author of the biography Jonah Jones: an Artist’s Life, published by Seren Books in 2011, has edited this fascinating extended correspondence between Jonah and Mona. He has written an article about this extended and exhaustive project for Cymod, the newsletter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales/Cymdeithas y Cymod. You can read Peter’s article by clicking here.