Considering that the author, who was passionate about studying, had only two weeks' formal education, this is an incredibly well written book. With hear eye for detail ear for accent and determination to improve the lot of the poor, Hannah Mitchell offers a superb commentary on the life of a working woman as well as details of her own personal endeavours in the early Labour movement and the Suffragettes.and her work on the council. It is valuable reading for those with an interest in social history, women's history, women's suffrage, the origins of the Labour Party. It is interesting to hear the viewpoint of an intelligent working woman who had to juggle her domestic duties with her commitment to educating herself and working for the social and political causes in which she believed. 4.5 stars.
I chose this rating because the topic of the book seems highly neglected and as a refection on the life of an intelligent working class woman it seemed an important social document. What an amazing woman!
The Hard Way Up is the thought-provoking autobiography of Hannah Mitchell who in spite of her upbringing valued education and fought, first for the rights of the working class and then for the rights of women. I was dismayed, although not surprised, to see how frequently the suffragettes were ignored and disregarded by the socialists - even as they had frequently fought alongside them to secure rights of the working class. Too often the majority, those with privilege, have no problem accepting the help and support of the minority and those without privilege, but when it comes to giving back and fighting for the rights of minority it is suddenly no longer of importance. The Hard Way Up is a fascinating insight into a different, but incredibly important time that laid the foundation of many of the same issues we still see today. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in history, politics or women's rights.
*I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I saw this book mentioned in Andrew Marr's "The Making of Modern Britain" and was lucky enough to be able to get a copy out of the county library store. Hannah Mitchell tells, in her own words, her life from a child of a farm labouring family in rural Derbyshire to one of the first female Councillors and Magistrates in Manchester, via time working in the Lancashire cotton trade, and most interestingly as an active player in the Suffragette and Independent Labour Party movements of the early 20th Century. Mitchell conveys the harsh conditions she lived under, while trying to reconcile the daily struggle to meet the demands of her family with her social conscience and desire to better herself and the lot of women and the working class poor in general. This is the tale of many tens of thousands of women from this time, who helped shape the Britain we live in today, but are mainly forgotten now. Highly recommended.
A very interesting read of a very admirable strong woman ahead of her time. I only wish I had some of her virtues. A very good insight into these times and show both progress and lack that still needs to be addressed with issues between the sexes.
A really good autobiographal read. This amazing lady lived through some pivotal moments in the history of women's emancipation in England, forging friendships with suffragettes and other major influencers of the day. Her insight into the lot of working classes is acute and the writing style superb. Anyone who has enjoyed Helen Forrester's autobiographal books would also enjoy this book. Its a shame its out of print. I had a copy which I leant out and which unfortunately wasn't returned, but can't wait to buy another copy. If you get the chance its well worth it.