Ruth Adam provides an excellent, succinct overview of the changes in women's lives from 1910 to 1975 and the many roles they were expected, by society, to adopt along the way. There were times when women were expected to remain at home looking after husband and children and then it was her duty, particularly in war time, to go out to work - and resume her domestic role again after the war. She was at times supposed to be pure and virginal; at other times she was supposed to be sexually emancipated. At one time teenage girls were expected to obey their fathers then they were earning their own money and could do as they pleased. This is an easy to read work as Ruth Adam writes in an engaging, informal style. As she was born in 1907 and died in 1977 her life covers the span of the book and it would be interesting to know what she would have made of the situation for women as they moved into the 21st century. Reviewed by Mary Smith No More Mulberries
Ruth Adam's book describes the path of women's lives from before WWI until the mid-70's. Her style is engaging, witty, very dry and almost conspiratorial. I imagine her typing away with a wry smile as she contemplates society's folly in it's changing expectations of what it has wanted women to do and be over the last century. Adam's use of original sources and her interpretation of them is always interesting. She uses everything, fiction, newspaper articles, government reports, to create a fascinating picture of life for British women through war, depression, war again to apparent liberation in the 60's and 70's. This Persephone edition has an Afterword by Yvonne Roberts covering the 25 years since the book's publication.