A Century of Women: 1the History of Women in Britain and the United States

Shelia Rowbotham, Author, Sheila Rowbotham, Author
Shelia Rowbotham, Author, Sheila Rowbotham, Author Viking Books $34.95 (752p) ISBN 978-0-670-87420-0
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This social history of women in Britain and the U.S. through the 20th century is a rich and fast-moving survey by British historian and sociologist Rowbotham (Hidden from History; Women in Movement). Organized for the most part by decade, with each decade divided into two parts--Britain, then the U.S.--it presents women not as underclass victims but as active achievers who have shaped the century and the emerging status of women. Each chapter addresses issues of the moment as well as several running topics (politics, work, sex, daily life) and includes boxed sections containing topical essays on women in popular fiction of WWI, cooking during WWII, pin-ups, Eleanor Roosevelt and the U.N., dress styles of the 1970s and women comedians. Biographical sketches of 400 women who have made their mark on the century conclude the book. Throughout, Rowbotham ties her discussion to specific women, who range from Doris Day, the performer, to Dorothy Day, the social activist, and repeatedly points out that over the century, women's claims for freedom and justice have ""oscillated between equality with men and improvements in their daily lives at home."" Photos. (Dec.)
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