Urban Britons were amazed. Of the 59,000 girls enlisted or drafted into the Women's Land Army, about 30,000 wanted to stay there after March 1, their demobilization day. They lived on lonely farms and in remote hamlets. For pay as low as $9.60 a week, they worked long hours in fields swept by wet winds. Weekly dances at the local pubs, occasional trips to nearby market towns, replaced the city life in which most of them had grown up.

The war had uncovered a growing dissatisfaction with factory and office routine; life in drab, overbuilt cities cost too much—in...

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