Landgirl 1980: When I was asked to review this for Queens of Vintage, I will admit I let out a little yip of excitement. I may have even clapped. In fact, I think I did. What more could I want in a book than World War II history and farming? Not to mention the pictures and how to’s. When the book arrived, I let out a further yip-clap combo, and got to reading.

‘Wartime Farm’ starts on BBC2 on the 6th September 2012 at 8pm and by the same team who brought us Victorian and Edwardian Farm respectively. I was deeply in love with both series. I am agog at how people produced food, reared livestock and occasionally turned a profit. Farming is not all hot days and a glut of apples with which to make a nice pie. It was (and still is) hard work with a certain vocational quality.

I found the book to be not only well written, easy to digest and gloriously filled with photos of the Wartime Farm team in action, but also titbits of information that, despite all my reading, had eluded me. Like soap being on the ration and the natural alternatives people used, how farmers were encouraged to keep bee hives and were allotted extra sugar to feed their colonies and the various “Harvest Camps” that were set up around the country for the younger generation to help out with the several bumper crops that came to fruition during the Forties.

As a companion book to the series, it touches upon something that I have always felt incredibly overlooked when history looks back on the achievements of the UK during those tumultuous years: The Fight in the Fields. It lead the UK to become practically self sufficient food wise. With campaigns such as “Dig for Victory” where even Hyde Park was turned over to the production of vegetables, and the intervention of the War Agricultural Executive Committees who had the authority to decide which farms nurtured which crops –  sometimes by force. With the Land Army, Conscientious Objectors and PoW’s, not to mention the Girl Guides and the Scouts, Britain really did pull together to get the job done.

I loved the way this was written –  with each member of the team taking a different section of the book to task – which gives a well rounded view of life on a wartime farm. I have to admit I am automatically drawn to Ruth Goodman’s parts –  as these are the parts of life, as a woman, I would have had to deal with in the same situation. The history of the female role, not only on a working farm, but also on the Home Front in general, is given careful consideration. There is even a dash of clothing history.

All in all, I really liked this book. I feel it has something for the history entrenched and the toe-dipper alike.

Wartime Farm is published by Mitchell Beazley is available from all good book stores from 3rd September 2012

LandGirl1980 is Charly Surry, a gal with a penchant for history, head-scarves and humour.
Charly is a full time retro dressing, history book reading, letter writing (the pen & paper kind), old recipe trying, hair setting, red lippy wearing, cat loving lass. The female role within both World Wars grabs her interest most, but she also has a thing for Anne Boleyn and Royal History in general. Charly runs Well Rounded Retro, an Etsy shop stocking mainly plus-sized vintage and retro.



One Response

  1. Miss Rose

    It is in the wish list on Amazon, but I think I may run to the library to see if they have it there for free first.