From Library Journal
In the 1830s, highly exaggerated statistics concerning the number of prostitutes plying their trade in London forced a reluctant Victorian government to acknowledge the situation. When surveys revealed a dramatic increase in venereal disease among members of the military, Parliament passed a series of Contagious Disease Acts in an attempt to regulate the trade and enforce periodic inspections of prostitutes. Both feminists, who saw a double standard regarding the women and their clients, and puritans, who deemed any regulation as a step to the legalization of immoral behavior, were outraged. The acts were repealed, but the debate would continue into the 20th century. Fisher (history, Newcastle Coll., England) uses a wide range of original sources to document the shifting positions in the debate but offers little analysis, though she has a nice feel for the period. Her work may be recommended for academic and public libraries where there is an interest in English history.?Rose M. Cichy, Osterhout Free Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"'a most useful book in bringing history alive' Contemporary Review 'to be welcomed' Teaching History 'a satisfying, enjoyable and disturbing book which reminds one of the uncomfortable moral dilemmas of our own age' English Historical Review"