How Was It For You?: Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s (Hardback)Virginia Nicholson (author)
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Following on from volumes including Among the Bohemians and Millions Like Us, Virginia Nicholson’s engaging account of women’s lives in the twentieth century breezes into the post-war era. Ranging widely from sexual emancipation, contraception and the changing face of fashion to working conditions, class division and the rise of the Women’s Liberation Movement, it is packed with fascinating detail and first-person testimony. An enjoyable and highly readable companion to the lives of real women in Britain’s swinging ‘60’s.
'A feeling that we could do whatever we liked swept through us in the 60s...'
The sexual revolution liberated a generation. But men most of all.
We tend to think of the 60s as a decade sprinkled with stardust: a time of space travel and utopian dreams, but above all of sexual abandonment. When the pill was introduced on the NHS in 1961 it seemed, for the first time, that women - like men - could try without buying.
'It was paradise for men... all these willing girls...'
But this book - by 'one of the great social historians of our time' - describes a turbulent power struggle.
Here are the voices from the battleground. Meet dollybird Mavis, debutante Kristina, Beryl who sang with the Beatles, bunny girl Patsy, Christian student Anthea, industrial campaigner Mary and countercultural Caroline. From Carnaby Street to Merseyside, from mods to rockers, from white gloves to Black is Beautiful, their stories throw an unsparing spotlight on morals, four-letter words, faith, drugs, race, bomb culture and sex.
This is a moving, shocking book about tearing up the world and starting again. It's about peace, love, psychedelia and strange pleasures, but it is also about misogyny, violation and discrimination - half a century before feminism rebranded. For out of the swamp of gropers and groupies, a movement was emerging, and discovering a new cause: equality.
The 1960s: this was where it all began. Women would never be the same again.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 798 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 45 mm
'Virginia Nicholson is one of the great social historians of our time, and How Was It For You? is another jewel in her crown. No one else makes makes history this fun.' - Amanda Foreman
'A sparkling survey of women's lives in the 1960's.' - The Sunday Times
'Reading this book made me grateful for how far we've come' - The Sunday Times
'...brilliantly explored' - The Financial Times
'Having read Nicholson's magisterial and sensuous overview of the decade, I now feel I'm floating above the Sixties (a bit like Lucy in the sky) and looking down on them with a new understanding of the chronology' - The Times
'They say that if you remember the 1960s you weren't really there. But if you really weren't, then the next best thing is to read this fascinating book. With the meticulous attention worthy of a Vidal Sassoon haircut, Virginia Nicholson has shaped her dazzling kaleidoscope of facts, feelings and observations, into a razor-sharp account of the women who lived through that tumultuous decade.' - Juliet Nicolson
'Essential reading for all those who lived through it, and for those who came after.' - Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
'Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade.' - David Kynaston
'How Was It For You? brings it all back. As always Virginia Nicholson's book is full of fascinating history and fascinating new material. It makes it feel like the Sixties have never been away, which they never have been, as far as I'm concerned. Wonderful.' - Hunter Davies
'A hugely ambitious, kaleidoscope of a book, written in a sympathetic but also hard-headed tone that captures squalor and tragedy as well as glamour.' - Richard Vinen, author of The Long '68
'Virginia Nicholson's social history of the lives of women during the 1960s is an absorbing study of an extraordinary age. Beautifully written and intensively researched, it covers a wide range of characters and many levels of society, uncovering with remarkable perspicacity a world of rebellion and change. I am sure How Was It for You? will remain a vital study for many years to come.' - Selina Hastings
'Written with verve, wit and empathy, this account of the 1960s skilfully interweaves the lives of individual women with broader social and cultural changes. Virginia Nicholson nudges the reader to reconsider the well- beaten tracks and to reflect upon out-of-the-way experiences. Best of all How Was It For You? neither idealises nor excoriates the bouncy, controversial decade.' - Sheila Rowbotham
'Every baby boomer should read this great and wonderfully revelatory book if only to shout, 'Ah yes, that's exactly what it was like for me!' - Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes
'A tremendous achievement... a triumph of research and organisation - but also of sympathy.' - Observer on Millions Like Us
'An important and humane book of female social history.' - The Times on Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes
'A ground-breaking book, richly nuanced with titbits of information, insight and understanding.' - Daily Mail on Singled Out
'Virginia Nicholson is the outstanding recorder of British lives in the twentieth century. She has told us how it was for British women - and therefore of course for men and children - in the twentieth century. The formidable research and sympathetic understanding of so many different lives make this account of the 1960s - that swinging, sexy, revolutionary decade - the most vivid and moving of all her works. A fascinating decade, a fascinating book.' - Carmen Callil, author of Bad Faith
'I loved this. Yes, the 1960s were good fun, sometimes. But Virginia Nicholson forensically unpicks what "promiscuity" really meant for flower-chicks, fearful of seeming un-cool. They were perpetuating a society as patriarchal and phallocentric as ever - even in the counter-culture. I was there, and she's right. Amazingly right about so many things. Roll on the 1970s when things did change - but that's for another of her excellent books.' - Valerie Grove, author of Laurie Lee
'One of the great social historians of our time. No one else makes makes history this fun.' - Amanda Foreman'Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade.' - David Kynaston'An absorbing study of an extraordinary age. Beautifully written and intensively researched.' - Selina Hastings'Every baby boomer should read this great and wonderfully revelatory book if only to shout, "Ah yes, that's exactly what it was like for me!" - Anne Sebba'Virginia Nicholson is the outstanding recorder of British lives in the twentieth century... and this account of the 1960s is the most vivid and moving of all her works.' - Carmen Callil'Essential reading.' - Marina Lewycka'A dazzling kaleidoscope of facts, feelings and observations.' - Juliet Nicolson'A hugely ambitious, kaleidoscope of a book.' - Richard Vinen
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