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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Admirable women
I loved this book. The stories Virginia Nicholson has discovered of women who could never marry, or who did not want to marry, are inspiring and often moving. From the women whose fiancees or husbands were killed in WWI to the women who had never wanted to marry at all but had felt under pressure from society to do so, these women all had to create a life for themselves...
Published on 9 Oct 2007 by Lynette Baines

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and well researched
Narrates with touching compassion a story too little understood or remembered in the modern day.

It's only flawed in the end by its unrelentingly optimismic view of human nature and almost total faith in progress, which appears to have a religious basis. All lost fiancees, who died in the war here were Boys Own style stalwarts, fair and true for example; with...
Published on 17 Oct 2007 by Time Traveller


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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Admirable women, 9 Oct 2007
By 
Lynette Baines (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I loved this book. The stories Virginia Nicholson has discovered of women who could never marry, or who did not want to marry, are inspiring and often moving. From the women whose fiancees or husbands were killed in WWI to the women who had never wanted to marry at all but had felt under pressure from society to do so, these women all had to create a life for themselves without a man. For some, it was the making of them. They created their own careers, travelled, made money, formed unconventional relationships and freed themselves from the strictures of society. For others, their singleness, and often, their childlessness, was a sorrow they couldn't get past. Nicholson is to be congratulated for discovering the stories of these women. She doesn't gloss over the problems and heartaches, but she also celebrates the diversity of these women and the lives they made for themselves.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting material which makes you think, 3 Nov 2008
By 
hiljean (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This was a fascinating book which I was very glad to have read as it gave me a lot to think about. It made me realise how far women have come during the last 80 years (my mother's lifetime in fact) but also how little some things have changed. These women were able to make strides in their careers because they were single and had no husbands or family (with one exception who adopted adopted a child when she was in her 40s and could afford a nanny!). Memorable quote by Dame Evelyn Sharp (in the last chapter): "I should have preferred to be a man: then I could have had a career and marriage too". That still has the ring of truth today as I have found it very difficult in my life juggling a career with home and family.

Nevertheless these women paved the way for today's generation to take up careers that were previously closed to them, and what is most striking is that they were so accepting of their fate (ie to remain spinsters) and simply got on with life. Lacking self-pity they turned things to their advantage by taking up causes, having careers, or simply enjoying their friendships and the world around them. It teaches us a lot about our attitudes to the hand life has dealt us, and makes me value how many more choices women have today as to how they choose to live their lives.

One quibble; I think Nicholson crams too much material into the book. She would have done better concentrating on a handful of real life examples (more biography as one other reviewer says) and leaving out the literary examples from novels of the time.
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Women, 8 Oct 2007
I was looking at a different book by this same author on Amazon in the US, and they linked to this book, but it was only available in the UK. It cost me almost $50 US dollars, but it was one of the best purchases I will ever make because it changed my life. I know that seems like a dramatic statement, but it is the absolute truth. I am one of the "generation x'ers" so for me the women in this book are of my Great Grandmothers generation, but what amazing women they were. I had always admired my Great Grandmother for her honesty, her stoicism, and now I see that it was not just her, but an entire generation of women. I realized how very much that I have to be thankful to these women for. How much they changed the world, because they had no choice. They were not going to just sit back and let the world go on without them, they changed the world in ways that I am still feeling today. Virginia Nicholson did a wonderful job, this book made me think. It made me think about the past and there future and it made me realize that I have to do something for all the girls who will come after me. I changed my University major to Women's Studies after reading this book and I am so grateful. This book opened my eyes and changed my view of the world. I am still very young and hopefully have a long road in front of me, but this book made me realize that we are all alone in this world and no one can live your life for you, so you have to seize the day and take chances.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Women Left Behind by the Lost Generation, 16 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
Nowadays, many women are single either by chance or by choice. We marry later, we marry for love, we marry not at all. Men are around, but they may not be "the one," or are unsuitable for various reasons. Women may decide to concentrate on career, or may have been born with a different genetic makeup.

Singled Out is about an entire generation of British women who, whether they wanted marriage or not, were destined to remain single due to the loss of over a million men within their own age group. Their stories are as varied as they are numerous. Many were engaged, only to lose their beloveds at the Front; some never even had a chance to meet that special someone. In some cases, the Great War gave women opportunities that they never would have dreamed of in other circumstances. Archeologists, stockbrokers and scientists abound within these pages. Lesbians found that they were able to live a bit more openly, too, due to the common occurrence of (and thus fewer raised eyebrows over) women needing to room together for financial and companionship reasons.

Nearly every family in Britain lost someone in the Great War; this is how the women left behind picked up the pieces and moved forward without their men. Because of the sheer volume of stories, the narrative can become a bit confusing at times (I would go back occasionally to remind myself about whom I was reading), but the stories were so compelling on the whole that I now wish to read more about their experiences. Vera Brittain, especially, presents a fascinating life story.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Land Fit for Heroines, 9 Aug 2008
By 
John Grimbaldeston (Preston, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
Unlike a previous reviewer I thought there really was a representative cross section of women featured in the book, and the author came up with some quite obscure biographical details to bring the situations of women in the twenties and thirties alive. What comes across is the genuine sense of loss that some felt at being denied the chance of having a family, and the often ground-breaking successes they achieved once they decided to channel their energies in other directions. The last chapter which records these achievements is particularly uplifting, and the author herself conveys a quiet pride in what they did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadness, 8 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
I once asked my late Aunt, who was born in 1895 "why did you never marry Auntie?" "My dear, there was no one left". With this book one realises how very true this was. In those days one did not ask questions the way we did now. My Mother was furious that I had even asked her sister that much. But I was interested and this book answers obvious questions on how these women, for whom there "was no one left" made a life for themselves. Of course not everyone could cope with the title "old maid" and would be prepared to marry mere torso's so that they could have the desired ring on their finger and be addressed as "Mrs" and, more than likely become widows quite soon. A widow was infinitely preferable to being an old maid. How cruel people were then, if the lack of men WAS so obvious why did society condemn these women as unmarriageable? A vexed question. Virginia Nicholson writes well and movingly of the situation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great social history, 5 Aug 2010
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
It was said that, after WWI, nearly 2 million women were left without the possibility of marriage. This is what happened to them - how they coped without marriage or children, which women of the previous generation took for granted. Although you obviously do not need marriage for a fulfilling life, it was heart-breaking to read of women who longed for the comfort and company of marriage and, as a mother myself, I found it awful to think of those women who wanted children contemplating life without them. The author shows both side of the issue - how many women found it liberating that careers, previously closed, opened to them. Yet how others faced lonliness, often as their husband/fiance had been killed in the war. Whether their life was ultimately successful or, whether they made the best of a situation they did not want to be in, it was a fascinating account of the time and social history at its best.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Book, 3 Sep 2007
By 
Lindsay Seagrim-trinder "Bookworm" (South Wales) - See all my reviews
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During the recent serialisation of this book on BBC Radio 4 I was reminded of three very remarkable amd memorable women teachers that I was fortunate enough to encounter at Secondary School over 40 years ago. Obviously at that time I was among many who referred to these elderly spinsters - the youngest of whom was 45 - rather unkindly, in the colloquialisms of the day as "past it", "never had a life", "frustrated", "left on the shelf", "needed a good seeing-to" etc., without ever realising the privations that they must have suffered nor the heavy personal loss that they once bore, be it of a much loved father, brother, uncle or fiance. Yet these women stoically "got on with it" and led fulfilling lives as single, professional women.

Now, through Vera Nicholson's book, which tells the story of the two-million surplus women, we know "why"....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, 19 Feb 2014
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Some may say that this book has many similar short stories; girl meets boy, boy goes to war and dies, girls spends the rest of her life as a singleton regretting the loss. The fact is that we all have or have had aged relatives who fell into this genre. Reading the book reminded me so much of my two maiden aunts who lived together having loved and lost.
This book gives a facinating insight into the sadness of so many women after the war and also highlights the bigotry of so many men!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man's review, 9 Oct 2014
This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
I was prompted to try this book because of the emphasis on WW1 subjects during this year. I've read several others about the conflict aimed more at male readers but thought this one would offer a different but still relevant perspective. Frankly, it was an aspect of WW1 which I had never thought about before. And what a treat it has been! Engagingly written, and telling such fascinating stories of quite remarkable people. I've never agreed with the absurd view that women should be expected to be simperingly vacuous or merely decorative wallflowers. I both respect and admire women of spirit and intelligence who are assertive enough to determine their own path in life. And those described so eloquently in this book certainly fit that profile! It was quite fascinating and I was genuinely reluctant to put it down. Highly recommended. ( On the strength of the author's writing I now intend to read her other works as well. ).
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Singled Out:
Singled Out: by Virginia Nicholson (Paperback - 5 Jun 2008)
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