Throughout the Nineteen Forties, Odhams Press of 64, Long Acre, London produced a series of twenty-three 'public information' books. They were presented in a uniform 6"x 9" size portrait format complete with beautiful art pictorial dust jackets. The hardback boards were produced in both red and blue and some in a light brown with ornate lettering.
Initially they were designed with the clear purpose of maintaining public morale during the Second World War, with the first five titles clearly promoting the efficiency and advanced technology (when compared with the enemy) of Britain's Fighting Forces. Post war this fact was probably the subject of much conjecture!
Following the war, titles were initially focussed on providing the British public with details of how the nation's services worked and what types of post-war jobs were available and this gradually morphed into industrial and transport subjects.
The emphasis became more upon how things were made or how they worked and promoting the new transport technologies in road, rail, air and shipping that were beginning to come to the fore. The excellent quality of information provided was augmented by the superb diagrams and cutaways of Leslie Ashwell Wood (later of Eagle comic fame) and others.
This series gives a very thorough technological overview of the world (primarily in the British Empire and Commonwealth) as it existed during the war and in the immediate post-war years and is a collection I would highly recommend to the 'Transport and Military Historian.'
The gallery below is a collection of front dust jacket cover images presented in chronological order of the date of publication of each volume in the series. Arrow right to see the next volume published.
Britain's Wonderful Fighting Forces - Published 1942 - Print Code: S.742