This sounds like an astonishing experience and book about it!
A twenty-eight-year absence from the world at any point in history would undoubtedly be destabilizing, but Baldwin’s coincided with a period of particularly astonishing social, political, and cultural transformation, especially in the UK. World War I occasioned significant turmoil in all areas of life; in its aftermath, the rigid class system that had previously defined British society disintegrated, women won the right to vote, huge scientific and medical advances were made, and even the borders of the wider European map were redrawn. Whole empires had crumbled. When, on Baldwin’s first night of freedom, someone switches on the radio after dinner at an aunt and uncle’s London home, it’s all she can do to not “fly from the room, shrieking ‘Witchcraft!’ ” She’s as discombobulated as the somnolent protagonist of H. G. Wells’s speculative novel When the Sleeper Awakes (1899), who finally stirs from his 203-year nap to find that he’s been transported from the nineteenth to the twenty-second century. Baldwin herself makes a different analogy, drawing from her childhood: she repeatedly likens herself to Rip Van Winkle.