This September, Penguin Book reissued HOME FIRES (Penguin; On-sale: September 15; ISBN: 9780143108450; $17.00), Julie Summers’ fascinating social history of the Women’s Institute during World War II. Now adopted for television, this remarkable and true story of a brave group of women will premiere this fall as a PBS Masterpiece, starring Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Cranford), surely delighting fans of Call the Midwife and Foyle’s War.
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. 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.
PRAISE FOR HOME FIRES
“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.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julie Summers was born in Liverpool but grew up in Cheshire. She is the author of four works of nonfiction, and her most recent book HOME FIRES is the basis for the upcoming Masterpiece series of the same name. She lives in Oxford.
HOME FIRES: The Story of the Women’s Institute in the Second World War
By Julie Summers
Viking / On-Sale: September 15, 2015
ISBN: 9780143108450 / Price: $17.00