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Prudent Revolutionaries: Portraits of British Feminists Between the Wars Hardcover – 19 Nov 1987

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (19 Nov. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198201192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198201199
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,964,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Brian Harrison has produced an enjoyable and instructive book. It is academic history at its best.' Independent

'Harrison's elegantly written book provides a rich and challenging source of new biographical material' Times Literary Supplement

'Harrison's conclusion is often stimulating and offers some searching questions ... on the nature of women's political involvement. ... this is a scholarly, liberal-minded but deeply traditional work' Dorothy Zaborszky, Laurentian University. RFR/DRF

'this book is exemplary in its use of oral sources: Harrison has spent an enormous amount of time patiently collecting useful information from his subjects, or those who knew them; but he never overrates the significance of this material, and always integrates it closely with all the other available source materials" Arthur Marwick, The Open University, The English Historical Review, January 1991


This is the first major study of the personalities, achievements, and tactics of British feminist leaders between the wars. It brings out the breadth and scale of their activities, and explains their contribution towards broadening women's political, occupational, and family roles at home and abroad. Dr Harrison clarifies the organizational context and ancestry of inter-war feminism through creating a portrait gallery of sixteen prominent but very different feminists. Some (Lady Astor and Ellen Wilkinson, for example) are well-known, but are approached from a new angle; others, equally significant and interesting, are now almost forgotten. Overall, the book provides a composite portrait of the reforming personality, and illuminates the tactical and strategic dilemmas that face the reformer who aims to transform a hostile climate by working through democratic institutions. Drawing on interviews as well as a wide range of manuscript and other sources, "Prudent Revolutionaries" throws new light on the first generation of women to possess the vote in Britain. It makes a valuable contribution to the social and political history of Britain between the wars.

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