This book is a superlative sequel to the early Material World by Peter Menzel. I have read the earlier book so many times that when this new volume came out, I bought it immediately sight unseen. In this book, Faith D'Aluisio revisits 19 of the 30 families featured in the Material World to find out about the women's lives.
The articles are organized alphabetically, together with short features on marriage, laundry, work, education, childcare, hair, food, water, and friends. At the back of the book, we find statistical charts about women, and a useful statistics glossary. Each article has an extended interview with the mother of the family that reveals parts of her life story as well as her attitudes towards topics such as marriage, child care, education, money, and possessions. The articles are of course filled with numerous color photos, large and small, of the women at work and with other family members.
The Material World itself is a monumental book, but it was hard to go back to it after reading this book, where we find that the details presented in the Material World were so incredibly superficial. For example, family life for Maria dos Anjos Ferrerira in Brazil or Carmen Balderas de Castillo in Mexico isn't nearly as rosy as one might guess from looking at their original smiling photos in the Material World. On the other hand, Zhanna Kapralova from Russia continues to be a survivor. No matter how much you learn from the Material World, it will be far eclipsed by this book with its extended interviews and additional photographs.