I was 16 or 17 when I first read Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, and 26 when I completed my PhD on shell shock in First World War Britain.
This readable and accessible book has secured an impact beyond the academic world, becoming the Guardian book of the week in March 2011 and drawing positive reviews in both the academic and non-academic press.
In essence, Williams’ monograph examines the poor relief given to individuals and families during the final decades of the old poor law in one Bedfordshire parish, namely Campton.
Sinners? Scroungers? Saints?: Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth-Century England offers a rich and fascinating study of the National Council of the Unmarried Mother and Her Child (later the National Council for One Parent Families, then One Parent Families and now Gingerbread), a charitable organization that was established to provide support for unmarried mothers and their children.
This important work is long overdue. It identifies two gaps in the existing historiography.
The collection of essays in ‘She said she was in the family way’: Pregnancy and infancy in modern Ireland is a welcome addition to our knowledge of Irish women’s lives. Its use of a variety of sources in original and revealing ways, its rigorous scholarly presentations and its overall knowledge of the field is truly of benefit to all those interested in Irish history.
Once upon a time, as every schoolboy knew, the history of the British Empire was the history of great men.
Rachel Beer first caught my attention some 20 years ago when I was trawling through Who Was Who looking for journalists. She was unusual because she was the editor of The Sunday Times in the 1890s, when no other national newspaper had a woman editor. She was also deeply conscious of her background, proud of being a member of the wealthy and important Jewish family of Sassoon.
In recent years, historians have begun to explore the political experiences of Victorian women outside the well-trodden suffrage narrative. As a consequence, we have a far greater understanding of how certain women were able to negotiate, exploit and overcome the legal and ideological constraints society placed upon them.