In his foreword Tony Blair suggests that this book 'offers an overview of the important themes in the WEA's history and relates the past to the present and future of the association.' This is indeed true. The book acknowledges the association's successes, but is critical of its failures; its tone is at times joyful and at others poignant.
‘It is time to effect a revolution in female manners’ declared the Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792 ‘– time to restore to them their lost dignity – and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world’.(1) Mary Wollstonecraft’s legacy, which had such important ramifications for the wa
Raymond Gillespie's Reading Ireland sketches the impact of print in early-modern Ireland. It is a wide ranging and stimulating overview that touches upon many of the themes that have shaped recent histories of books in other European countries, but especially in Britain.
Angela McCarthy has written a useful book about Irish emigration to New Zealand, based upon 253 letters that passed between the two countries over a period just short of a century. This review discusses the author's methodology and findings through the perspective of two analytical tools, Alice's Letters and Shanacoole Exceptionalism.
The 1950s is a comparatively under-researched area for gender studies. Anyone wanting to understand the constructed gender roles which underpinned not only girls' and women's lives but also those of boys and men, would do no better than to start with this excellent book.
In Our Friend ‘The Enemy’ Thomas Weber attacks both the Sonderweg-interpretation of the German Kaiserreich and theories of British exceptionalism before 1914.
Socialising the child explores the role of the household and school in socialising the children of the gentry and the middle ranks of urban society between 1400 and 1600, outlining how childhood was imagined by writers and educators, and how it was presented to child and adult readers in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Sometime, around the middle of the 20th century, the British began to think differently about the well-being of children. Where anxieties had once dwelt on malnourished and disease-ridden bodies, they now shifted to contemplate the civilizational consequences of young disordered minds.
In today’s society in which risk is seen as a negative in so many circumstances, it is easy to conclude the children have much less freedom than in the past. It is also easy to idealise a past in which children were more free and risks were much fewer.
Michelle M. Strong has produced a very detailed analysis of educational tours by working-class travellers in the last four decades of the 19th century. The book consists of five chapters, four of which discuss travel to the Paris exhibitions of the second half of the 19th century, in 1861, 1867, 1878 and 1889 and to the Vienna exhibition in 1873.