Women and Families: An Oral History 1940-1970


This is an account of three English working-class communities in England from 1940 to 1970. The story is told through the words and memories of those who lived through it. The book is at once vivid, moving and eye-opening.

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This is an account of three English working-class communities in England from 1940 to 1970. The story is told through the words and memories of those who lived through it. The book is at once vivid, moving and eye-opening.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is difficult to praise Elizabeth Roberts' Women and Families too highly. It confirms her reputation as one of the finest social historians and most perceptive practitioners of oral history techniques working in Britain today. This book is more than just a sequel to her path-breaking earlier work, A Woman's Place; it is a superb study of a period which brought revolutionary changes to how people live their lives in Britain: 1940-1970. Sensitively using interview material gathered in Barrow, Preston and Lancaster, Roberts has written a book which should become standard reading for anyone interested in recent British social history. It is full of fascinating and often surprising insights, is careful in its judgements, and is a pleasure to read." Dr Richard Bessel, The Open University, UK

"Many oral historians succumb to the temptation of allowing quotations from interviews to 'speak for themselves'. Roberts supports the rich detail extracted from approximately one hundred oral history interviews with a thorough use of social statistics, public records and the voluminous secondary literature concerned with social and family life in postwar Britain. This foundation provides additional authority to her conclusions. Nonetheless, Roberts's liberal use of interview materials puts a human face on postwar working-class experience. Our sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers speak to us from the pages of Women and Families. This is an extremely readable, satisfying book which is also destined to become a social history classic." Lucinda McCray Beier, Illinois State University

"Her two volumes appear austere but tell an absorbing tale. I hope she is collecting material for a third." Times Educational Supplement

"Women and Families is a powerful work. It will be of great significance not only to historians but also to social commentators who are looking for responses to the problems of the 1990s ... The strength of Elizabeth Roberts's research is in emphasising the place of working-class women. Their place is not in the margins. It is at the hub of working-class life." Social History Society Bulletin

"This is a strong book that deserves a wide readership. Lucid, informative, and interesting, Roberts carefully weaves a fascinating story, threading her non-obtrusive analysis through the richness of the oral data. It is oral history at its best." Economic History Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Roberts is Director of the Centre for North-West Regional Studies in Lancaster University. She is a social/ oral historian with a particular interest in women's and family history. Born in Barrow-in-Furness, she has spent most of her life in the North West and is involved in the local community as a magistrate and school governor.

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Table of Contents

1. The Context.

2. Homes and Houses.

3. Growing Up - Relationships with Parents: Getting a Job.

4. The Opposite Sex.

5. Family Planning and Role Relationships in Marriage.

6. Marriage - For Better? For Worse?.

7. Married Women's Paid Employment.

8. Changing Attitudes to Child Care.

9. Attitudes to Social Conditioning and Education.

10. The Extended Family.

11. Neighbours and Neighbourhoods.

12. Conclusion.

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