Home Fires: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War

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9780143108450: Home Fires: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War
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The basis for the PBS Masterpiece series starring Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Cranford)
Away from the frontlines of World War II, in towns and villages across Great Britain, ordinary women were playing a vital role in their country's war effort. As members of the Women's Institute, an organization with a presence in a third of Britain's villages, they ran canteens and knitted garments for troops, collected tons of rosehips and other herbs to replace medicines that couldn't be imported, and advised the government on issues ranging from evacuee housing to children's health to postwar reconstruction. But they are best known for making jam: from produce they grew on every available scrap of land, they produced twelve million pounds of jam and preserves to feed a hungry nation.
Home Fires, Julie Summers's fascinating social history of the Women's Institute during the war (when its members included the future Queen Elizabeth II along with her mother and grandmother), provides the remarkable and inspiring true story behind the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series that will be sure to delight fans of Call the Midwife and Foyle's War. Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women's Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II.

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Review:

Millions of words have been written about the military and social history of both world wars, but Summers carves out a little area of her own by examining the vital work performed by the Women s Institute who, through its meticulous organizational skills and national network, found its finest hour in the face of conflict. Daily Mail (London)
That image of defiant jam making sums up the way many see the wartime contribution of the Woman's Institute. The Economist"

"Millions of words have been written about the military and social history of both world wars, but Summers carves out a little area of her own by examining the vital work performed by the Women's Institute who, through its meticulous organizational skills and national network, found its finest hour in the face of conflict." --Daily Mail (London)
"That image of defiant jam making sums up the way many see the wartime contribution of the Woman's Institute." - The Economist

-Millions of words have been written about the military and social history of both world wars, but Summers carves out a little area of her own by examining the vital work performed by the Women's Institute who, through its meticulous organizational skills and national network, found its finest hour in the face of conflict.- --Daily Mail (London)
-That image of defiant jam making sums up the way many see the wartime contribution of the Woman's Institute.- - The Economist

About the Author:

Julie Summers was born in Liverpool but grew up in Cheshire, where the Home Fires series was set and filmed. Her first book, Fearless on Everest, published in 2000, was a biography of her great uncle, Sandy Irvine, who died on Everest with Mallory in 1924. Her grandfather, Philip Toosey, was the man behind the Bridge on the River Kwai and her biography of him appeared in 2005. Fascinated by how people cope with extreme situations, she has turned her attention on the effect of the Second World war on non-combatants - the women and children. Recently she published Fashion on the Ration, a book that looks at what we wore during the Second World War. Her book Home Fires, the story of the WI in wartime, has inspired Masterpiece's new Fall 2015 drama series HOME FIRES, featuring Samantha Bond, Francesca Annis and many others.

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