I am currently researching the suffragettes to write a play and after some initial browsing the web I realised that I knew very little of the subject. My ideas of the suffrage movement were all tied up in the big demos in London, the force-feeding in prison, the Cat & Mouse Act, the Pankhursts. This book has been a wealth of useful and interesting information. It made me realise how much the mill workers of the north and other working class women contributed through determined and steady political effort over many years to gain the vote. And these women were not interested in self-glory, just interested in improving the working and living conditions of women, children and men of their time.Their campaigns, their determination in the face of extreme hostility put into place some fundamental human rights that today's society now takes for granted. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning of the political picture of that time. I believe this book is a true picture and one that shows there was much more to the womans suffrage movement than millitant action.
This new edition of Liddington And Norris book is essential reading for anyone studying the history of the women's movement, or for anyone who is just merely interested. Immensely readable and without pretention, One Hand should be added to anyone's collection. One Hand blows apart the popular myth that the sole arbiters of the Suffrage Movement were the upper and middle classes. It shows that the Pankhursts, whilst important in their way, were not the main contributors in the fight to gain the vote for women. Centred around the textile industry were large numbers of women who were active in the Trade Union and Labour Movement. These were the women who, through hard work and determination, gained the respect and support of those men who would have to be influenced if the vote was to be won. The book also points out very successfully that the vote was not the be all and end all of the campaign as far as working class women were concerned. Their campaigns for employment rights and equality of opportunity were equally important, and in some ways it was far harder to achieve success in these fields, however they did succeed. If you want to know how far we have travelled in the fight for equal rights, and how far we have to go to achieve that equality, then this book is as good a place to start as any. I would highly recommend it.
As a (very) mature student, I read this book in 1989 whilst studying for a History degree. The impression it made has never left me and I have referred to it and the huge significance of the action and bravery of working class women in the suffrage movement many times. I can add nothing to the eloquent and excellent reviews already made except to urge anyone to read Jill Liddington's book. You don't have to be an academic. It is eminently readable. Ask for it for Christmas!