Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Woman's Place: 1910-1975 and Another Giveaway!

I have so much to post about, so I'm going to have to make this review a little short. I've been lucky enough to find some a copy of A Woman's Place: 1910-1975 at one of my local college libraries, so I snapped it up this week.  I thought it would be the perfect thing for Persephone Reading Week: some nonfiction for more background about the period covered by so many of my Persephone favorites.

A Woman's Place is a great quick read.  If you're interested at all in the social history of women's roles in Britain, I highly recommend it.  It starts with the period just before WWI, and covers women's suffrage, the war efforts, the fight for equal pay, and so much more.  My American edition was a short read, just over 200 pages (though the Persephone edition is listed as 352 pages -- maybe larger margins?) Either way, it was a very absorbing read.  I'm sure there are books which go into much more depth about these periods -- there's really only a chapter each about each decade, so there's a lot covered for such a short book.  But it's a great overview.  I learned quite a lot, much of which annoyed and infuriated me.  For example,the British government refused to give nurses professional status during WWI, because it might detract from that of the men, resulting in a severe shortage of untrained nurses and hospitals after the battles at Marne, Ypres, and Neuve Chapelle, at which thousands of young men died.

I could go on and on and pick out a lot more fascinating facts and statistics from the book, but I did want to let everyone know about my second giveaway!  In honor of Persephone Reading Week, I'm giving away a copy of the DVD adaptation of Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, my first Persephone, which is still one of my favorites.  The movie does digress from the original plot a little, but I think that Frances McDormand and Amy Adams really captured the essence and spirit of Miss Pettigrew and Miss LaFosse -- and I will always love Ciaran Hinds!  I'm planning another viewing tonight in honor of PRW.

Unfortunately, I'll have to limit the giveaway to the U.S. and Canada, simply because it is a Region 1 DVD (so if the winner was in Europe, it just wouldn't work -- sorry!)

If you'd like to enter the drawing, please answer the following in the comments:  which is your favorite Persephone so far, and why?  If you haven't read a Persephone, which one do you want to read?  Please leave an email contact in the comment if you don't automatically link to your blog. 

The contest is open through Midnight, Monday, February 28 (U.S. Central Standard Time).  I'll select a winner at random from all eligible entries, and post the results on Tuesday!  Good luck and happy reading!

I'm having such a wonderful time reading all the Persephone postings.  Many thanks again to Claire and Verity for organizing this, and for all their hard work.


  1. Oh my goodness! How generous!
    'A Woman's Place' sounds like something I'd like to read. Yes, some of the Persephones do have huge margins so perhaps that accounts for it.
    Please don't enter me into the giveaway as I'm not in the US or Canada and I already have the film.
    Good luck to all!

  2. Another generous giveaway, Karen! Thank you so much (Verity and I should crown you honorary co-host and perhaps you could pick up the mantle for real next time!)

    The typeset for Persephone is often larger so perhaps that explains it to. I would like to read A Woman's Place for the historical context some day (A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman is wonderful for the literary context).

    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a heartwarming movie and I hope the winner enjoys it.

  3. I have the DVD (so please don't enter me, thanks anyway! so nice of you!) and I really enjoyed it. But I'm still glad I read the book first, because it's a little different, a little bit deeper, but still as sparkling. I think everyone should read and see both. (And once I figured out that Ciaran Hinds (Captain Wentworth) and Alan Rickman (Colonel Brandon) weren't the same person, I decided that they were both dreamy.)

    I read the Nicola Beauman years ago, and want to read it again now that I'm more immersed in books like this. And I'm very interested in your other book, too, and will look for it. I have Virginia Nicolson's book Singled Out (same period) from the library, because I saw many recommendations for it.

  4. I'm not entering the giveaway, but i wanted to comment on A Woman's Place, which i read a few weeks ago and enjoyed immensely. I agree, there was a lot to learn from this book...

  5. No need to enter me in the giveaway, but A Woman's Place sounds fantastic! What a great COVER, too. One book I have on my shelf but haven't gotten to yet is America's Women (I think that's what it's called...). It's about women in America from the Revolution to the feminism of the 1960s and sounds fabulous! Hopefully this year...

  6. I'm in the UK Karen, but what a fabulous, generous idea for a giveaway. I agree A Woman's Place is a great quick read that's so informative.

  7. Hi,

    This sounds like a great read for anyone wanting an overview of the conditions back then.
    Unfortunately, there are still many inconsistencies in English law regards to women (female doctors earn less, for example).

    (not entering the giveaway)

  8. Oh how interesting to read your review of A Woman's Place - I must pick up my own copy. How lovely too to have discovered your blog!

  9. I'm reading Miss Pettigrew right now and it is becoming my favourite so far (out of 2). I saw the movie a long time ago before I even knew there was a book, and would love to see it again when I'm done!

  10. I would love to own this movie. Miss Pettigrew is the only Persephone I've read so far but there are SO many on my wishlist now! Mariana by Monica Dickens and The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett are just a couple that I have my eye on.

  11. A Woman's Place does sound fascinating, and what a generous giveaway. I have the Persephone book of Miss Pettigrew here to read, hopefully soon, and I hope to see the film after that. I live in Japan but I'm Canadian and we have a region 1 DVD player. So if it's still possible I would love to be entered in the giveaway.

    As for my favourite Persephone, well, I'm currently reading my second one so it's not really a fair question. But I did really love the first one I read, Little Boy Lost. There are so many Persephone titles that I want to read, but I do especially want to read something by Dorothy Whipple as I've heard such great things about her books.

  12. What a lovely giveaway (please don't enter me though): I thought the film was very well done indeed, although initially I was quite nervous about the idea of it being adapted.

    I dipped into A Woman's Place this weekend too (though I ended up concentrating on two others instead); it wasn't quite what I wanted for this weekend, but I know that I'll enjoy it when I revisit it another time.

  13. I've never read a Persephone and never heard of them until last year. I would like to read The Priory by Dorothy Whipple because your review made the book seem like a must read.

    Thanks for entering me into the giveaway!

  14. Just on a side note, I am not an expert, and know less than the author I'm sure, but it's worth pointing out that through the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, there was considerable debate amongst the women in Nursing regarding whether they wanted a system of licensing comparable to Doctors - Florence Nightingale for instance was vehemently opposed to the idea. She and many others believed that if Nursing were licensed as a medical profession that it would be omen sort of Junior Doctor role - which in some sense is a good decryption of many peoples feelings about nurses today. Nightingale believed nursing should be a field completely distinct from medicine, envisioning it as an eventual peer to doctors. This didn't happen of course, and I'm not saying she was right, just pointing out the subtleties of the debate. Fwiw. :)

    How do I keep ending up talking about Florence Nightingale with you?


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