New books


Young women, work, and family in England 1918-1950

Selina Todd

Oxford University Press 2005. 286 s. ISBN 0199282757
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

Demonstrates that the world of work was central to young women's lives in the period 1918-1950
Uses extensive oral histories and autobiographical material

This fascinating account of young women's lives challenges existing assumptions about working class life and womanhood in England between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the 1950s. While contemporaries commonly portrayed young women as pleasure-loving leisure consumers, this book argues that the world of work was in fact central to their life experiences. Social and economic history are woven together to examine the working, family, and social lives of the maids, factory workers, shop assistants, and clerks who made up the majority of England's young women. Selina Todd traces the complex interaction between class, gender, and locale that shaped young women's roles at work and home, indicating that paid work structured people's lives more profoundly than many social histories suggest. Rich autobiographical accounts show that, while poverty continued to constrain life choices, young women also made their own history. Far from being apathetic workers or pliant consumers, they forged new patterns of occupational and social mobility, were important breadwinners in working class homes, developed a distinct youth culture, and acted as workplace militants. In doing so they helped to shape twentieth-century society.

Readership: Historians of modern Britain; students and scholars of social and economic history; readers concerned with the history of women, youth, and working class experience in modern Britain.

1 Young Women and Work
2 Earning a Living: Daughters and the Family Economy
3 Entering Employment
4 Mobility, Migration, and Aspiration
5 Work Culture
6 'Frivolous' Workers? Trade Unionism and Militancy
7 Beyond the Workplace: Leisure and Courtship

Authors, editors, and contributors

Selina Todd, Lecturer in History, University of Warwick