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Adam Edwards is an unusual and amusing writer on the English countryside, covering subjects from shooting and etiquette to the vagaries of parish council and pub life. In this book, he has turned his wry humour and gimlet eye to the trusty gumboot.

While my own forebear ceremonially tied the Iron Duke’s shoe buckle at the Waterloo Ball before the battle of 19 June 1815, Edwards never lets us forget that, really, the duke’s name will forever be associated with the farmyard. “Giving it some Wellie” is perhaps not the legacy his grace would have imagined.

This is a fascinating and fun history entwined with military and social anecdotes. Did anyone ever look better in a pair of Hunters than Kate Moss at Glastonbury? Did Lady Diana Spencer revive their fortunes when she posed in them for an engagement photograph?

Along with the foxes’ mask doorknocker and dog basket, the gumboot sits at the back door of most country farms and houses. To them may now be added Edwards’s own book, to be read with a glass of whisky and your feet up, your boots left firmly in the rack.

Published by Hodder and Stoughton (ISBN 0340921382)