- Title: Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s
- Author: Virginia Nicholson
- ISBN: 9780670921317
- Page: 340
- Format: Hardcover
In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.Turn the page back to the mid twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures a promised land of batch baking, maraschiIn Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.Turn the page back to the mid twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures a promised land of batch baking, maraschino cherries and brightly hued plastic A world where the darker side of the decade encompasses rampant prostitution, a notorious murder, and the threat of nuclear disaster Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes reconstructs the real 1950s, through the eyes of the women who lived it Step back in time to where our grandmothers scrubbed their doorsteps, cared for their families, lived, laughed, loved and struggled This is their story.
Recent Comments "Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s"
This is a fascinating look at how women lived in the 1950s. If, like me, you were a child in this era the book is like a trip down memory lane and a wallow in nostalgia. But were the 1950s really the golden age that they seem to have been to many? I suspect that after the austerity of the years during and immediately after World War II, the increasing prosperity of the 1950s seemed like heaven. It seemed as though the weather was always sunny, people were always in a good mood and everyone was h [...]
A long, more fleshed-out look at this book can be found at my online reading journalhere -- otherwise, carry on. Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes focuses on the lives of women in the UK from both working-class and privileged backgrounds during the 1950s. Using a number of different sources -- diaries, interviews, memoirs, archives, newspapers, periodicals, the web etc -- Virginia Nicholson offers her readers a very up-close and personal look at how women dealt with "some of the conflicting pressures [...]
Didn't know whether to laugh or cry at a lot of this book. Absolutely fascinating look at the life of women in the 1950's.I admire Nicholson's research compiling this - she's clearly interviewed some of the women as well as using resources such as Mass Observation diaries. We have a whole range of women wanting to tell their stories, women as diverse as debutantes, Butlin's Red Coats, air hostesses, prostitutes and factory workers.It's so hard to think how different things were for women not tha [...]
I stumbled across this in Waterstones a few months ago and couldn’t resist the inviting front cover and, being partial to a dose of social history, its promise of “The story of women in the 1950s”. Before buying this book, I had no knowledge of the author but on doing some research discovered to my delight that she is the great niece of Virginia Woolf. Having recently watched the excellent BBC dramatisation “Life in Squares” about the lives of the Bloomsbury Group, I had gained a great [...]
This was great, like sitting down with a dozen old ladies to hear about their fascinating lives in the 50's
In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950’s, Virginia Nicholson, author of Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in the Second World War and Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived without Men After the First World War, provides a social history of women’s lives in Britain in the 1950s. Popular culture expected them to be Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes but whether the women profiled in Nicholson’s book lived in palaces or council houses, their homes rarely conformed to [...]
Really interesting and very enjoyable. Some surprising lessons included discovering I was married on anniversary of Queen's coronation! The social history was fascinating. London was so very different as I guess were many cities. I loved the aspirations of so many of the women some achieving their dreams and fighting the system whilst others slipped into a more traditional way of life. What would we have done? I think women still have these dilemmas to some degree. So much in this book, politics [...]
This is an interesting book based largely on anecdotes, but the world it describes will be familiar to any girl who grew up in the 50's or 60's. In fact there are traces of the same mindset still around: the choices facing women even today are much more circumscribed than those facing men and always will be as long as women produce the next generation.I did think that the tone of this book was sometimes patronising - 'poor dears, allowing their lives to be dictated by others' expectations' - whe [...]
Really enjoyed this. Fascinating, well-written amount of women's lives in the 1950s with loads of social history and interviews. You think you know what it was like for women then but it's mind boggling to think that pretty much no women tried to go to university at that time and Oxbridge wouldn't award women degrees!
Intellectually, I know that women have made a huge amount of progress since the 1950s, but the interviews and case studies in this book really bring it home. Bonus: from a UK perspective! This was truly a good read.
Interesting look at the lives of women in the 1950's and expectations both from and of them. It shows the lives of several women from the beginning of the decade to the end, accompanied by changes in wider society.
305.409 N628 2015
I was born in the 1950s and enjoy reading about this period. The author follows the fortunes of a large cast of characters throughout the decade. She talks of their upbringing, their education, their opportunities (or lack of them), their careers and so on. It is shocking to remember just how curtailed most women's lives were. Only 1% of girls went to university, and most of those were from middle class families. Working class girls were expected to take menial jobs for a couple of years until t [...]
Unexpected way to tell this story - through multitude first-hand accounts that Nicholson managed to put in a narrative that work. The amount of disbelief, anger, helplessness and disgust for the unfairness of it all just strengthened my own resolve to stand up for women's rights, to call out misogyny and push for true equality even in, or especially in day-to day situations. We need to be aware of history, of how things were, what was done so we could move forward into fairer society. I wasn't e [...]
A very enjoyable and easy-to-read book about women in the UK in the 1950s. It's full of detail on individual women's lives, following their stories throughout the period, as well as drawing conclusions about society as a whole and tracing the roots of why things were as they were. Reading this it seems impossible that things have changed so much in so short a time.
I can't quite decide if it's a 2 or a 3, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. The topic is fascinating but this is a rather repetitive and irritating read. I read it as a reading for pleasure book, and there it is lacking, but I think if I was using it for an academic study, dipping in and out or focusing on one or a few particular things, then I wouldn't have got so annoyed with it. There were too many women's stories to keep track of and the author seems to expect us to remember individu [...]
Really good book, very easy to read, interviews with all the different women shines a spotlight on what life was like for them in the 50s. Good to see that in some ways we have moved on (women can get mortgages, don't have to marry etc), but sad to see that in many ways nothing has changed (still battling for equal pay, still encountering sexism in the workplace etc). Would definitely recommend this book
An outstanding and very readable history of women in 1950s Britain (mainly England). It's full of alternately heartbreaking and triumphant accounts by and about real women, from Princess Margaret to a Soho prostitute. Completely fascinating and an unexpected page-turner. There's even an afterword to tell you what happened to some of these women after the 50s. And I might have teared up a bit.
Not as good as I hoped it would be. I found it difficult to get into.
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