Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 12 August 2014
A complete gem of a book with a relaxed and readable style that makes its subject matter so immediate. As a piece of social history I found it fascinating; as a piece of leisure reading, completely enjoyable.
Besides the ten women who are the main subjects of the book, there are a whole load more in the introduction (which in itself tempts the reader to find out more about them online). Then there is a great bibliography of novels by women in the 50s/early 60s which is well worth exploring. This book is bursting with information.
My favourite chapters were the ones on Nancy Spain, Joan Werner Laurie and Sheila Van Damm; on Betty and Muriel Box; and on Rose Heilbron QC which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the others; these were women who worked in fields I know more about. It is interesting to have the biographies of all the women leading up to their significant achievements in the 50s and a little subsequent detail. The format works.
You find yourself thinking, “Why didn’t I know more about these women?” The answer is obvious. This book is a real encouragement to spread the word, though, not because the author indulges in any polemic to do so, but because it is so readable and makes you realise that they deserve to be talked about; that youngsters should know more about what these women did because of their significance for the development of modern British society. And to show that such things are possible.
I certainly hope that Rachel Cooke continues to produce more books like this; hopefully more detailed and longer biographies of significant women in this engagingly readable style which sacrifices no detail and analysis and yet is so comfortable.