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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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The BBC must know they are on to a winner with this one. As I write this, the series 'Wartime Farm' hasn't even started, but the book has already been released.

The format is well known - archaeologists Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands, along with social historian Ruth Goodman recreate a period of history by living on a farm exactly as they would have done at that time for a TV series.

'Tales from the Green Valley' was a quiet success some years ago, but in recent years 'Victorian Farm' and 'Edwardian Farm' really caught the public's imagination.
Both Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm had great 'books of the programme'; this one is even better.

'Edwardian Farm' suffered slightly from poor proofreading, but here there are no such errors - at least not that I spotted. What there is, is a fascinating guide to farming and rural life in wartime. As always there are unexpected challenges for Peter, Alex and Ruth- such as ploughing by night, making tiles (roofs were frequently damaged in bombing).... and ballroom dancing for a wartime 'hop'.

With the programmes yet to be broadcast at the time of writing it's difficult to say how the book fits into the programmes. However there are eight programmes scheduled and also eight chapter headings. The Victorian & Edwardian Farm books mixed the content of some of the programmes in different chapters, whilst others - like the Christmas celebrations - were less varied.

We are taken through an outline of the 'Farm at War', with details of crops grown and the equipment used. 'Mobilising People' deals with those who worked on the land and elsewhere. As might be expected 'The Home & Garden Front' shows how a home and garden were run. The recipes in 'Wartime Food' will certainly be of interest to those who welcome the current return to fashion of 'old style' living - baking from scratch, making use of cheaper cuts of meat, and generally economising. There's a short section of recipes, with some familiar - Coconut Ice - and some not so familiar such as Baked Potato Pudding.

Livestock -hens, rabbits, pigs, cows, horses - have their own chapter, as does Home Defences, with the role of the Home Guard examined. 'Make Do and Mend' is becoming a motto for today as much as it was in wartime, although not many of us will mend laddered stockings with hair, as Ruth does.
Finally ..And Carry On covers the leisure pursuits such as the aforementioned dancing and Christmas celebrations. Wonderful.

This would be a super book of social history even without the back up of the programmes. Peter, Ruth and Alex are first class writers as well as top-class historians. It's difficult to know how it could be better.
What next? Well, Peter's potted biography in the introduction tells us that he 'has swum the Rio Grande during a flash flood, been forced up a pyramid at gunpoint ... and set fire to himself (twice)." If that isn't worth writing about, I don't know what is.
I doubt if I'll recommend a book more highly this year.
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on 6 September 2012
A beautifully photographed, well detailed, hardback book.

A beautifully presented book jammed full of everything you could possibly want to know about life on the farm during the war.

You start with a fantastic meet the farmers section which then leads into the farm in my home county of Hampshire. The farm sits in he most beautiful of settings and it must have been an absolute delight living there whether through the war time years or the recreated years.

With sections on Grow your own and Make do and Mend the book just oozes photos and adverts from the past along with a section on how to make your own beehive and honey. Illustrated step by step on how to dance a perfect foxtrot when you meet your GI, recipes and how to make your own Christmas decorations.

A fantastic read for young and old. I took this book in to show a class of 11year olds and they loved it.

Perfect gift for anyone.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved "Tales from the Green Valley" - my favourite of the programmes made thus far by Ruth, Peter and Alex. Tales From The Green Valley [DVD]

Now we have a recreation of living on a farm during World War 2 - with its challenges and celebrations. I was excited
about a book of the programme as I thought it would focus on how to do some of the things we see the historians/archaeologist
doing and I'm a fan of experimental archaeology. We do get some of that - how to make a feather duster, a few recipes including making shampoo from soapwort and a guide to quilt making, but not nearly enough for me.

What this is is a very good popular history book, with short articles covering many aspects of life and developments during the war written by the three presenters. There is information on rationing, the Bevan boys, food preserving and many other wartime areas and a timeline of what was happening during the war years to allow you to put it into context. There are also articles on their experience of wartime farming and what unique challenges it presented.

My Mum, who was born 2 years before the start of the war, will love it. I found it quite interesting, but would have liked more practical things to try.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I watched the TV series of wartime farm and really enjoyed it. It had great ideas on how to "make do" and when I saw there was a book to acompany the series I thought I would buy it.

However, to be quite honest it is a bit of a let down. While it does contain the odd recipie seen in the series and the odd "step by step" guides for toy making / repairs etc, its mostly a book about the "making of" the series detailing production, filming, etc. While this may appeal to some, I was specifically hoping for a recipe and skills book.

That being said,what is presented here is very readable and it is quite interesting to read to see how the series was made. All in all however, I was underwhelemed with the book itself.
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on 29 September 2012
A very good book to accompany the BBC series "WARTIME FARM".
It gives us a very good insight into the farming and rural life in the UK during WW2.
The book not only covers how farming had to change during the war years in order to keep the country fed, it also has articles on civil defence, rationing, the black market, evacuees, wartime cooking and a few other topics relevant to how we survived during the austere war years.
If you have read the previous books on the VICTORIAN FARM and EDWARDIAN FARM you'll enjoy reading this book.
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on 12 July 2016
Being a fan of the whole Farm series, I have read both the Victorian and Edwardian Farm books before this one.
This was the least interresting in my opinion. The quality is still very good, but this had more "history" in it and I felt it less relatable compared to the previous two books. Both the Victorian and Edwardian Farm gave me ideas to try at home, however I doubt I will be needing to prepare my home for a blackout or have frequent use of an air raid shelter anytilme soon.
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on 7 September 2012
the team has really hit on a winner this time because at lot of people can relate to this era .[some good some bad] .i being one as i lived in botley near to where the series was made .i can remember a lot of these things so any one interested in recent social history this is one for you Wartime Farm: Rediscovering The Skills And Spirit Of World War II
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed Wartime Farm so this book was a must for us both. It is a really good read and provides much more in-depth information than the series had time for. It was hard to imagine there could be anything new to learn about World War II as it has had enormous coverage on the media, endless books, television series [fiction and non fiction] etc. However there was much that was new and interesting in this series. The information on Lumber Jills was new to me [although it has recently turned up again on BBC Countryfile] and it was good to see a group of hard working women finally praised for what they achieved during the war. The chapter on Home Defences was riverting - I doubt if many people had realised that farmers were engaged in secret defence work at night as well spending their days working hard to ensure the nation was fed. I think most readers will enjoy reading the recipes although I doubt many will want to make a 'baked potato pudding'!. Ginn, Goodman and Langlands are as interesting as writers as they are engaging presenters. Highly recommended. fjs
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rather than approach the Second World War from the more traditional approach of following political leaders, or descriptions of battles, this is really a peoples' history describing the impact of WW2 on agriculture, farmers, and to a degree the wider public who were dependent on the food they produced. The big picture is of course the impact of war on food imports upon which the UK was highly reliant until 1939.

The book itself if based on a TV series which I have not seen, and forms part of a loose collection of books also based on BBC documentaries examining changes in farming in the past. Whilst the previous sentence might suggest the book is rather dull this is far from the case. It's well written by three historians/archeologists who also presented theTV series. From what I can gather the text of the book expands a great deal on the TV programmes and can certainly be read and much appreciated without having watched the series first.

A fascinating insight is provided with a broad perspective of the impact of food imports being curtailed including ingenuous recipes to make use of available produce, the use of land girls to replace conscripted agricultural workers, and the impact of technological change.

The book is more than a coffee table book but is richly illustrated, as you might expect from something based on a TV series. My only minor criticism is the design decision to make it look as though it might be a contemporary 1940s book. It obviously isn't and I'm not too sure apart perhaps from a nostalgic perspective why the production team decided to adopt this approach.

Overall, highly readable, and informative without going into too much detail - there is only so much information I want on wartime farming. Five stars.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I only saw a couple of episodes of this series when it was on T.V. - a shame, as the premise held quite a lot of interest for me. During the Second World War, my grandfather (a university lecturer, with a specialist interest in entomology) was seconded to the Ministry of Agriculture, to help advise on crop production/protection to try and help achieve the highest possible yields - which crops to grow to avoid pests, how best to eliminate insect pests, how to control pests, etc. he and another chap between them were responsible for the whole of Wales.

The book is beautifully presented, on pseudo-aged paper, and gives a really good feel for the nature of the 'experiment', the serious historical interests of those conducting it, and aspects of the social history of WWII, through the attempt to recreate realistic day-to-day living circumstances. There are instructions for all kinds of aspects of 'make do and mend' survivalism - accompanied by photographs of the present day participants, as well as contemporary documents and photographs.

A beautiful, engaging, quirky account of a particular part of UK social history that is well-written, by a trio of authors with a passion for history so great they're eager to live it. Lovely!
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