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Bibliophile price: £4.00
In a heartfelt tribute to the ordinary country women who were at the core of the village Women's Institutes, a researcher and historian draws on interviews with many WI members and uses hitherto unexplored material to tell the story of the remarkable role they played in rural Britain during the Second World War. 'Unpaid, unsung, to a large extent uncomplaining, these women quietly and often with humour made the countryside tick', she writes. Here, in graphic detail, is their nitty-gritty approach to the daily problems presented by the conflict. Making jam, gathering rosehips to provide Vitamin-C-packed rosehip syrup for children, setting up canteens for the troops and knitting much-needed balaclava helmets, gloves, warm socks and scarves for them, as well as singing to entertain and cheer everybody up, really did make their lives, and the lives of those people around them, more bearable during what they described as 'a period of insanity'. They also, in a collective desire to 'do their bit' for Britain, educated and supported women and campaigned on women's issues at a time when it was particularly needed. A nostalgic 349 pages with archive b/w photos. Paperback. Previously sold as Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute.

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