Being Boys offers a fresh and original approach to the masculinities, subjectivities and emotions of adolescence by exploring the leisure lives of working-class boys and young men in the inter-war years. The book offers new perspectives on familiar and important themes in interwar social and cultural history, going beneath the collective identities and outward conformity to peer pressure which were so powerful in the lives of working-class young males to challenge many stereotypes about their behaviour. Being Boys develops a subtle analysis of the everyday conformities of youthful masculinities which suggests new approaches and questions about the inter-war history of youth and leisure. It draws on a wide range of autobiographies and personal accounts and is particularly distinctive in offering an unusual insight into working-class adolescence through the teenage diaries of the author's father, which are interwoven with the book's broader analysis of a range of contemporary leisure developments, which include the cinema and mass consumption to boys' clubs, personal advice pages, street cultures, dancing, sexuality, mobility and the body. This gives the book a broad appeal across the humanities and social sciences and also makes it relevant to those teaching and studying in the fields of child development, education, and youth and community studies.
Melanie Tebbutt teaches in the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her most recent publication is Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years (Manchester University Press, 2012). Her previous books include Women's Talk? A Social History of 'Gossip' in Working-Class Neighbourhoods and Making Ends Meet: Pawnbroking and Working-Class Credit.