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Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950's

Virginia Nicholson

178 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0670921319 / ISBN 13: 9780670921317
Published by Viking, 2015
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of ...

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


What did it feel like to be a young woman in the 1950s? Virginia Nicholson examines the pressures under which women lived in a post-war culture characterized by sex discrimination, inhibition, conservatism and hierarchy, and in thrall to the ideals of marriage, home and the perfect wife. With the emphasis on real women's experience, she explores topics from coronation fever, through 'how to get your man' manuals, housework and paid employment to the pervasive fear of atomic war. Slightly off-mint.


Virginia Nicholson gets us closer than we have ever been before to the complicated day-to-day reality of women's lives during that still controversial decade, the 1950s (David Kynaston)

Nicholson handles her material with confidence, sympathy and, ultimately, optimism that for most women things have improved, so that the abiding emotion is not gloom but, in my case, admiration for my mother's generation and gratitude that it was so much better for ours (Daily Telegraph)

Nicholson uses vivid contemporary sources and oral testimony to show the constraints under which so many women lived. Like David Kynaston's Family Britain . . . Nicholson has the same knack of seamlessly piecing gripping individual stories into a panorama of ordinary life (Sunday Times)

An important and humane book of female social history . . . In this work, Nicholson musters voices to profound and deeply political effect. Much of the material in this book will be familiar to women over 55: we were born into this world. For younger women, though, Nicholson's book should be necessary reading, to remind them how far we have travelled. (Melanie Reid The Times)

An uplifting and heartwarming read (Stella)

Nicholson spells out the contradictions of this era so well: a new world dressed in old clothes (Indendent on Sunday)

Remarkable. To today's young, it'll sound like life on another planet (Daily Mail)

The achievements of the women in this book haunt us and move us to admiration (Guardian)

Insightful social history. Mixing research with a wealth of anecdote, Nicholson brings history to vivid and touching life (Mail on Sunday)

Poignantly illustrates how the women of the 1950s yearned for the innovative technology of the era to liberate them from repetitive drudgery (Victoria Coren Mitchell Observer)

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