Author(s): Sheila Rowbotham
From the 1880s to the 1920s, a profound social awakening among women extended the possibilities of change far beyond the struggle for the vote. Amid the growth of globalized trade, mass production, immigration and urban slums, American and British women broke with custom and prejudice. Taking off corsets, forming free unions, living communally, buying ethically, joining trade unions, doing social work in settlements, these dreamers of a new day - conceived new ways of arranging daily life from childcare to industrial relations. In the process, they challenged ideas about sexuality, mothering, housework, the economy and citizenship. Forming broad coalitions and movements with strong transatlantic links, both radicals and reformers were overturning assumptions about everyday life - long before it came to be theorized in the 1960s. Drawing on a wealth of research, Sheila Rowbotham has written a groundbreaking new history that shows how women created much of the fabric of modern life. These innovative dreamers raised questions that remain at the forefront of our twenty-first-century lives.
"As the 21st century falters forward with faith wars and economic collapse, women need to be at the forefront of reimagining our world. This book is a timely reminder that we have been here before." Jeanette Winterson, Times "Rowbotham has a marvellous gift for explication and an eye for the illuminating quotation - readers of this ambitious and eloquent book will agree with Rowbotham's tough-minded conclusion: that in women's ongoing effort to reconcile the personal and the political, 'there is no automatic accretion of improvement', but the need to reinvent utopia in every era." Elaine Showalter, Daily Telegraph
Sheila Rowbotham's many books include the James Tait Black-shortlisted Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love. She has written for, among other newspapers, the Guardian, The Times, the Independent, the New Statesman, and the New York Times.