The history of single women in pre-modern Europe has begun to attract a good amount of attention in the last decade. Thanks to historians such as Judith Bennett, Kim Phillips, Ruth Mazo Karras and P. J. P.
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.
Previous investigators, whom Todd scrupulously acknowledges, have focused, she argues, on London and on urban communities such as Preston and the Potteries with a strong tradition of working wives—or on the world beyond work.
In Women in Business, 1700–1850, Nicola Phillips has produced a dense and absorbing study of (British) women in business. In line with contemporary usage she employs a capacious definition of ‘business’ to consider the range, nature, and discursive representations of women’s economic activities.
James M. Smith’s book, Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment (2007) fills a significant gap in research about the Magdalen laundries and their impact on Irish society. Frances Finnegan’s Do Penance or Perish (2001) has also tackled the subject, but her study is confined to the Good Shepherd asylums that operated in Ireland.
Professor Abrams has written a profound and illuminating study of a relatively-isolated, but not inward-looking, community which has been perceived by outsiders as a quintessentially masculine society and yet which was, at least until the 1960s, very much ‘a woman’s world’.
This is a ground-breaking social history of single men and women in England from the early to the mid-20th century. Up until recently, historians of the family have prioritised the experiences of those men and women who married and became parents.
Behind Enemy Lines is about the experiences of women and men who were recruited and trained by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), and then infiltrated into France to undertake clandestine resistance operations such as sabotage.
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.
Johanna Rickman remarks that her book resulted from an apparently simple question: 'What happened to noblemen and noblewomen who engaged in extramarital sexual relationships?' (p. 1). She rightly insists that the answers shed light on the interactions of social status and gender, the role of the monarch, and relationships within and between elite kinship networks.