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A 1950s Housewife: Marriage and Homemaking in the 1950s Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
You'll find a nearly complete social history here: dating, marriage, setting up a household, the daily routine of life, how a housewife spent her day, how she existed without conveniences we take for granted today, shopping and style, leisure activities, health and beauty, the status of women, and more.
Hardy writes with humor, mimicking, in many cases, the astonishment 50s women might display at certain aspects of 21st century life. Take hosiery, for example: "The idea that one day she would be pulling on an all-in-one nylon garment that resembled a pair of elongated, shapeless bags grafted on to a larger one that came up to her waist would have been quite incomprehensible as well as seen as totally unhygienic."
In many cases, much of what women had to put up with no longer exists. Among these trials are the chimney sweep. In England, people burned coal in fireplaces before the general adoption of central electric heating. At the end of winter, the housewife would prepare for the annual call of the sweep. "To start with the sweep always announced he would arrive early so arrangements had to be made to get breakfast over and done with before he came.Read more ›
This taught me a lot and gave me some nice conversation starters for my grandma who remembered some of the things in this book as experience in her own life (such as, being a young newly wed, she knew she'd be responsible for making curtains, table cloths, etc, rather than buying them...)
The book was an enjoyable read and slightly humorous, but not great.
That being said, I do thoroughly enjoy the fact that this book covers more than just the Housewife herself. It covers everything; juxtaposing pre war culture against in war culture and even post war culture. As a result, the book gives you a miraculously detailed idea of how society was affected by and functioned in all areas of life which spanned the course of our favorite vintage era.
One of the greatest things about this book, though, is that it was written not by Historians, but by someone who lived through it first hand; the author uses not only her first hand accounts and experiences to illustrate their everyday life, but also the stories and experiences of other women who also lived through it as well. This gives you a marvelous peek into the authentic- not speculative or romanticized- life of a 1950′s Housewife in Britain. Even if it is not oriented on American culture, it is still truly is a breathtaking historical account for someone interested in the early 1940′s to the mid 1960′s.
The only issue I really had with the book was that I did find it oddly structured.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was disappointed to discover that this book covered on the British experience, since nothing on the cover indicated that. Nonetheless, I found it a fascinating read. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great looking back at the 50's.. Although it's written for someone living in England at that time, many of the references will tickle your funnybone in America too.Published 16 months ago by Patricia L. Schwatka