Extended Audio Sample

Download Home Fires: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Home Fires: The Story of the Womens Institute in the Second World War Audiobook, by Julie Summers Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julie Summers Narrator: Juliet Mills Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2015 ISBN: 9780399568039
Regular Price: $22.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $18.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

The basis for the PBS Masterpiece series starring Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Cranford)
Away from the frontlines of World War II, in towns and villages across Great Britain, ordinary women were playing a vital role in their country’s war effort. As members of the Women’s Institute, an organization with a presence in a third of Britain’s villages, they ran canteens and knitted garments for troops, collected tons of rosehips and other herbs to replace medicines that couldn’t be imported, and advised the government on issues ranging from evacuee housing to children’s health to postwar reconstruction. But they are best known for making jam: from produce they grew on every available scrap of land, they produced twelve million pounds of jam and preserves to feed a hungry nation.
Home Fires, Julie Summers’s fascinating social history of the Women’s Institute during the war (when its members included the future Queen Elizabeth II along with her mother and grandmother), provides the remarkable and inspiring true story behind the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series that will be sure to delight fans of Call the Midwife and Foyle’s War. Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women’s Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II.

From the Trade Paperback edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “That image of defiant jam making sums up the way many see the wartime contribution of the Woman’s Institute.”

    Economist (London)

  • “Millions of words have been written about the military and social history of both world wars, but Summers carves out a little area of her own by examining the vital work performed by the Women’s Institute who, through its meticulous organizational skills and national network, found its finest hour in the face of conflict.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • ‘Superb…Overall, this book tells a wonderful story—highly recommended.’

    Who Do You Think You Are? magazine

  • “The crisp, no-nonsense voice of Juliet Mills couldn’t be more perfect for recounting what British country women were doing on the homefront during WWII…Mills captures every emotion—from fear in the shelters when bombs are being dropped to the joy of a son coming home safely. She will also make listeners smile with her darkly comic tone when a small Women’s Institute is criticized for the poor quality of its jam, which doesn’t set and has wasps in it. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • ‘I thought I was fairly well up on the WI contribution to the World War II effort until I read Julie Summers’ book! I was wrong—every chapter was a revelation—full of information, reminiscences, humor, and social history. It is also well written, well researched, and easy to read. Reading it not only gave me great pleasure but also made me proud to be a member of such a long lasting, valuable, and vital organization, an organization which is still working actively to ‘improve the quality of life of communities’ both urban and rural.’

    Helen Carey, OBE, former chairman of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Julie Summers was born in Liverpool but grew up in Cheshire. She is the author of eleven works of nonfiction. She lives in Oxford.

About the Narrator

Juliet Mills is a highly acclaimed actress. She won an Emmy Award for QB VII and a Tony nomination for her role in Five Finger Exercise. She is currently one of the stars of the daytime drama show Passions.