Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie

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Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie

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Buy Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: History
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Informative look at the contributions women made to World War I is perfectly timed in the lead up to next year's anniversary, although its slightly dry style means it's not quite required reading.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 1444759671 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-1444759679

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With men fighting in the war between 1914 and 1918, women took much more of a role in many aspects of life on the home front – and even sometimes going further afield. Kate Adie gives us an in depth study of the things women did in wartime, and how the public reacted.

It’s a well-researched and informative book, although I can’t help thinking it’s a bit on the dry side – there are time it feels like reading a school textbook. However if the writing style doesn’t put you off there’s a lot of very interesting information here – covering a huge range of women, from munitionettes to the FANY, and from entertainer and recruiter Vesta Tilley to Flora Sandes, who became the only British woman to officially fight in World War One when she joined the Serbian army.

It’s organised well, with sections on various topics, starting with recruitment (after an extremely brief personal introductory chapter) and taking us through to the end of the war and people’s memories of it. This makes it an easy book to dip into, and there’s sure to be a few chapters at least of interest to everyone, depending on your personal preferences. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on women’s football, the concert parties which entertained the troops, and the secret tasks of the war effort – it was eye-opening to read about just how well-hidden the building of the first tanks was.

Adie also uses some really interesting sources here – as well as the usual letters home from soldiers, there’s extracts from various newspapers and magazines and a lovely piece from a book by the 19th century postmaster of Bristol, showing that women certainly had proven even before the war that they had the ability to do arduous post routes!

Additionally, there’s a selection of photographs which adds to the book nicely. Overall, despite the writing style not being quite my usual preference, this is an interesting read which historians will definitely enjoy.

With next year marking 100 years since the start of World War I, there's no shortage of books about the conflict coming out around this time, and The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War by Margaret MacMillan particularly impressed us. Another favourite here at the Bookbag, from a couple of years ago, is The Beauty and the Sorrow: An intimate history of the first world war by Peter Englund.

Buy Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One by Kate Adie at Amazon.com.

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