Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s

  • Title: Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s
  • Author: Virginia Nicholson
  • ISBN: 9780670921317
  • Page: 400
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes The Story of Women in the s In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the s a time before the Pill when divorce spelled scandal and two piece swimsuits caused mass alarm Turn the page b
    In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.Turn the page back to the mid twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures a promised land of batch baking, maraschiIn Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.Turn the page back to the mid twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures a promised land of batch baking, maraschino cherries and brightly hued plastic A world where the darker side of the decade encompasses rampant prostitution, a notorious murder, and the threat of nuclear disaster Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes reconstructs the real 1950s, through the eyes of the women who lived it Step back in time to where our grandmothers scrubbed their doorsteps, cared for their families, lived, laughed, loved and struggled This is their story.

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      Published :2019-01-22T18:40:08+00:00

    About Virginia Nicholson


    1. VIRGINIA NICHOLSON was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1955 Her father was the art historian and writer Quentin Bell, acclaimed for his biography of his aunt Virginia Woolf Her mother Anne Olivier Bell edited the five volumes of Virginia Woolf s Diaries.Virginia grew up in the suburbs of Leeds, but the family moved to Sussex when she was in her teens She was educated at Lewes Priory School Comprehensive After a gap year working in Paris she went on to study English Literature at King s College Cambridge.In 1978 Virginia spent a year living in Italy Venice , where she taught English and learnt Italian Returning to the UK in 1979 she re visited her northern childhood while working for Yorkshire Television as a researcher for children s programmes In 1983 she joined the Documentary department of BBC Television.In 1988 Virginia married screenwriter and author William Nicholson Following the birth of their son in 1989, Virginia left the BBC and shortly afterwards the Nicholsons moved to East Sussex Two daughters were born in 1991 and 1993.Living in Sussex, Virginia became increasingly involved with the Trust that administered Charleston, home of her grandmother the painter Vanessa Bell, in due course becoming its Deputy Chairman Her first book co authored with her father CHARLESTON A Bloomsbury House and Garden was published by Frances Lincoln in 1997 In 1999 2000 she made a ten city tour of the USA to promote the book and Charleston itself.In November 2002 Viking published AMONG THE BOHEMIANS Experiments in Living 1900 1939 to critical acclaim Its publication by Morrow, USA in February 2004 was followed by a sell out lecture and publicity tour round five American citiesNGLED OUT How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War, was published in August 2007 In this latest book Virginia Nicholson has set out to tell the stories of a remarkable generation of women forced by a historic tragedy to reinvent their lives Singled Out received a spate of enthusiastic reviews which applauded it as a pioneering and humane work of social history The work on this book was combined with her continuing commitment to the Charleston Trust.


    348 Comments


    1. This is a fascinating look at how women lived in the 1950s. If, like me, you were a child in this era the book is like a trip down memory lane and a wallow in nostalgia. But were the 1950s really the golden age that they seem to have been to many? I suspect that after the austerity of the years during and immediately after World War II, the increasing prosperity of the 1950s seemed like heaven. It seemed as though the weather was always sunny, people were always in a good mood and everyone was h [...]

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    2. A long, more fleshed-out look at this book can be found at my online reading journalhere -- otherwise, carry on. Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes focuses on the lives of women in the UK from both working-class and privileged backgrounds during the 1950s. Using a number of different sources -- diaries, interviews, memoirs, archives, newspapers, periodicals, the web etc -- Virginia Nicholson offers her readers a very up-close and personal look at how women dealt with "some of the conflicting pressures [...]

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    3. Didn't know whether to laugh or cry at a lot of this book. Absolutely fascinating look at the life of women in the 1950's.I admire Nicholson's research compiling this - she's clearly interviewed some of the women as well as using resources such as Mass Observation diaries. We have a whole range of women wanting to tell their stories, women as diverse as debutantes, Butlin's Red Coats, air hostesses, prostitutes and factory workers.It's so hard to think how different things were for women not tha [...]

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    4. I stumbled across this in Waterstones a few months ago and couldn’t resist the inviting front cover and, being partial to a dose of social history, its promise of “The story of women in the 1950s”. Before buying this book, I had no knowledge of the author but on doing some research discovered to my delight that she is the great niece of Virginia Woolf. Having recently watched the excellent BBC dramatisation “Life in Squares” about the lives of the Bloomsbury Group, I had gained a great [...]

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    5. This was great, like sitting down with a dozen old ladies to hear about their fascinating lives in the 50's

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    6. In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story Of Women In The 1950’s, Virginia Nicholson, author of Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in the Second World War and Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived without Men After the First World War, provides a social history of women’s lives in Britain in the 1950s. Popular culture expected them to be Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes but whether the women profiled in Nicholson’s book lived in palaces or council houses, their homes rarely conformed to [...]

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    7. Really interesting and very enjoyable. Some surprising lessons included discovering I was married on anniversary of Queen's coronation! The social history was fascinating. London was so very different as I guess were many cities. I loved the aspirations of so many of the women some achieving their dreams and fighting the system whilst others slipped into a more traditional way of life. What would we have done? I think women still have these dilemmas to some degree. So much in this book, politics [...]

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    8. This is an interesting book based largely on anecdotes, but the world it describes will be familiar to any girl who grew up in the 50's or 60's. In fact there are traces of the same mindset still around: the choices facing women even today are much more circumscribed than those facing men and always will be as long as women produce the next generation.I did think that the tone of this book was sometimes patronising - 'poor dears, allowing their lives to be dictated by others' expectations' - whe [...]

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    9. Really enjoyed this. Fascinating, well-written amount of women's lives in the 1950s with loads of social history and interviews. You think you know what it was like for women then but it's mind boggling to think that pretty much no women tried to go to university at that time and Oxbridge wouldn't award women degrees!

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    10. Intellectually, I know that women have made a huge amount of progress since the 1950s, but the interviews and case studies in this book really bring it home. Bonus: from a UK perspective! This was truly a good read.

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    11. Interesting look at the lives of women in the 1950's and expectations both from and of them. It shows the lives of several women from the beginning of the decade to the end, accompanied by changes in wider society.

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    12. 305.409 N628 2015

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    13. I was born in the 1950s and enjoy reading about this period. The author follows the fortunes of a large cast of characters throughout the decade. She talks of their upbringing, their education, their opportunities (or lack of them), their careers and so on. It is shocking to remember just how curtailed most women's lives were. Only 1% of girls went to university, and most of those were from middle class families. Working class girls were expected to take menial jobs for a couple of years until t [...]

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    14. Unexpected way to tell this story - through multitude first-hand accounts that Nicholson managed to put in a narrative that work. The amount of disbelief, anger, helplessness and disgust for the unfairness of it all just strengthened my own resolve to stand up for women's rights, to call out misogyny and push for true equality even in, or especially in day-to day situations. We need to be aware of history, of how things were, what was done so we could move forward into fairer society. I wasn't e [...]

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    15. A very enjoyable and easy-to-read book about women in the UK in the 1950s. It's full of detail on individual women's lives, following their stories throughout the period, as well as drawing conclusions about society as a whole and tracing the roots of why things were as they were. Reading this it seems impossible that things have changed so much in so short a time.

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    16. I can't quite decide if it's a 2 or a 3, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. The topic is fascinating but this is a rather repetitive and irritating read. I read it as a reading for pleasure book, and there it is lacking, but I think if I was using it for an academic study, dipping in and out or focusing on one or a few particular things, then I wouldn't have got so annoyed with it. There were too many women's stories to keep track of and the author seems to expect us to remember individu [...]

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    17. Really good book, very easy to read, interviews with all the different women shines a spotlight on what life was like for them in the 50s. Good to see that in some ways we have moved on (women can get mortgages, don't have to marry etc), but sad to see that in many ways nothing has changed (still battling for equal pay, still encountering sexism in the workplace etc). Would definitely recommend this book

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    18. An outstanding and very readable history of women in 1950s Britain (mainly England). It's full of alternately heartbreaking and triumphant accounts by and about real women, from Princess Margaret to a Soho prostitute. Completely fascinating and an unexpected page-turner. There's even an afterword to tell you what happened to some of these women after the 50s. And I might have teared up a bit.

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    19. Not as good as I hoped it would be. I found it difficult to get into.

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