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In the Family Way: Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties Paperback – 4 Feb 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Feb. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241962919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241962916
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


An important social history tracked through personal stories that need to be heard, and will soon be beyond memory. They are not all harrowing. Compassion breaks through the stony ground (Daily Telegraph)

The great surprise in Jane Robinson's new history of mid-century illegitimacy is how long these opinions - the children may be blameless, but assisting them would mean condoning the intemperance of their mothers - persisted. Robinson has made contact with 100 unmarried mothers and their progeny and deftly interweaves their stories with the political and institutional history (Observer)

A tragic litany of society's readiness to blame the most vulnerable for their own misfortunes . . . In the Family Way is full of heart-wrenching stories of young women kept in ignorance of the facts of life. Robinson has a good eye for the human story and the affecting detail that brings alive the hypocritical moral landscape of the period (Sunday Times)

Robinson's mix of official data and personal anecdote is powerful and persuasive (Independent on Sunday)

Robinson has worked to give back a voice to those not traditionally allowed one . . . Taken together, the individual stories of secrecy and enforced separation form a powerful testament to the hypocrisy and cruelty of our culture (Independent)

[In the Family Way's] heart is firmly in the right place. It is a book that makes a woman want to reach for an AK47 to avenge the past; or at the very least to buy a copy to politicize their daughters (Melanie Reid Times)

The closer Robinson's survey comes to our own day, the more shocking it grows . . . In the Family Way is not, incidentally, without its funny side. I particularly enjoyed this (Mail on Sunday)

Jane Robinson has managed to elicit over 100 personal accounts of illegitimacy and it is these letters and interviews that give the book its force - that, and the author's manifest warm-heartedness. The book is grounded in testimonies from real people - heartbreaking, some of them (Melanie McDonagh Spectator)

In the Family Way is both engaging and incredibly moving and will strike a profound chord with many readers (Sunday Express)

Riveting . . . Part of the book's charm is its subtle interweaving of personal accounts with astute historical analysis (BBC History Magazine)

About the Author

Jane Robinson was born in Edinburgh, brought up in North Yorkshire and read English at Somerville College, Oxford. In the Family Way is her ninth book, and like her previous work, including the acclaimed Bluestockings (25,000 TCM) and A Force to Be Reckoned With: A History of the Women's Institute (8,000 TCM), it confirms her as one of our most engaging and original social historians. Jane lives near Oxford with her husband and two sons.

25 customer reviews

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