Although it deals with heavy themes, the human condition, mental illness, overall the story is one of hope, and the fact that life wins. It’s titled How to Keep Well in Wartime because the protagonist ends up writing the wartime pamphlets that got people through, despite the fact that his life is spiralling out of control around him.
In reality, those pamphlets would have been written by teams of people at the Ministry of Information, a government department created during the second world war and given responsibility for publicity and propaganda. It played a controversial role, owing to its ability to censor news.
Based at Senate House in London, the Ministry was established in 1939 and dissolved in 1946. Staff oversaw campaigns such as the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster.