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A Force To Be Reckoned With: A History of the Women's Institute Paperback – 6 Sep 2012


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A Force To Be Reckoned With: A History of the Women's Institute + Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War + The Womens Institute (Shire Library)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844086607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844086603
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane was born in Edinburgh and brought up in North Yorkshire. After reading English at Somerville College, Oxford, she became an antiquarian book dealer, and later a writer. Her eight books to date have been critically acclaimed, and have confirmed her as one of our most engaging and original social historians.

Jane lives near Oxford with her husband and - during university holidays - her two sons. She writes full time, apart from when she's happily travelling to give talks or broadcasts about her books, or working one day a week at Somerville College as an assistant archivist.

Learn more about her books, work in progress, and future speaking engagements on www.jane-robinson.com, where you can also send her a message.

Product Description

Review

'A witty, informed and continuously entertaining account' --Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times

'Thanks to Robinson's wide-ranging research and stylish writing, A Force To Be Reckoned With is a spirited and engaging read' --Lara Feigel, Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A fascinating book celebrating the 'the most important body formed during the twentieth century' - the Women's Institute

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Oct. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Having loved Jane Robinson's previous books, particularly the excellent Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education, I was looking forward to reading this book. Again, the author looks at history from a women's perspective - in this case she turns her attention to the Women's Institute. Described as the most important body formed in the UK in the 20th century, it has suffered from stereotyping and is seen as a group of, somewhat frumpy, women who bake cakes and make jam. In fact, the Women's Institute was founded in 1915 by suffragettes, academics and social crusaders, to give women a voice.

The roots of the Women's Institute actually begin in Canada, with Adelaide Hoodless, whose youngest child died from drinking contaminated milk. She wanted to give girls practical training in household science. She supported the Women's Institute all her life and died on the speakers platform in 1910. There were already early forms of the WI in England, all described in this excellent book. However, it was not until Madge Watt arrived in the UK from Canada in 1913, committed to establish the movement, that it really became widespread in England. It was a long road, but the autocratic, impatient and overbearing, Mrs Watt was determined. She wanted to transplant the WI from Canada to the Motherland, but struggled with the class system and trying to stop the wide range of women from "bickering themselves out of existence."

The WI was extemely important in both the World Wars. In WWI, when German submarines blocked imports into Britain, they were literally needed to help feed the country.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Russell T. Bowes on 24 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I took this out of the library in order to research some information about Gertrude Denman and the formation of the Women's Land Army. By page 10 I had ceased reading it for research purposes and read it for pleasure! Not that my research was unrewarded - its just written in such an engaging, frank style (the occasional authorial "asides" are particularly entertaining)- that I more or less forgot to take notes along the way. Am I, as a mere man, allowed to say that I really enjoyed learning about the determined (and sometimes formidable) women who created the WI? Before I realised it, I was nearly 2/3 of the way through, having read on far beyond the point at which my research dictated that I should stop. Its not often that I read something so funny that I have to stop and laugh out loud, then tell other people in the room what has amused me, yet I did it several times with this book (the Nellie Melba "jelly" anecdote is already a firm favourite, no pun intended)

If Jane Robinson always writes like this, then her other books will be on my "wish list" very soon!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By witchygirl on 29 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a WI member I am often asked about the Jam and Jerusalem culture. This book dispels the myths and the ideas some younger people have. The book is fun to read and full of information. Right from the "A Dozen Ways to Kill an Institute" comedy drawings and how not to be a good member list right at the very front, (Every WI member will recognize people in that list) the book is a pleasure to read. I enjoyed it immensely and found answers to questions I still had, even as an office holder in my own WI. The WI IS a force to be reckoned with and inside the pages of this brilliant book you find out just how strong that force can be. I recommend it to all WI members and anyone who wants to know more about the past, present and possibly the future of the WI.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mrs B on 7 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
An excellent, informative and amusing view of the history of the Women's Institute. The biographies of the founder members in both Canada and the UK were most interesting. This book also highlights the principles of the movement and brings you up to date with current thinking. Most enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By franny on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be quite unexpectedly funny and inspiring. The early pioneers of the WI were amazing women with vision, energy and egaliterian attitudes which I had not realised underpinned the movement. It informed my appreciation of membership today and I would recommend it as a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 4 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having recently joined the WI, I wanted to find out something of the history.This is an interesting insight and written with clear affection and humour. A good read
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. Thompson on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being a WI member I had read about this book and I am quite pleased I bought it Have heard good results from other members
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs E Davison on 26 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a comprehensive history of the W.I. I thought I knew all about it, but have learned so much from just browsing. It is well written, and puts the facts in a very interesting way.
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