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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Out of the Shadows - A History of Women in Twentieth-Century Wales
Deirdre Beddoe
ISBN: 9780708315910 (0708315917)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Ionawr 2019
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 233x155 mm, 216 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Ar gael Ein Pris: £14.99 
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Hanes hynod ddiddorol o'r newidiadau syfrdanol ym mywyd gwragedd yng Nghymru yn ystod yr ugeinfed ganrif, ym meysydd addysg ac iechyd, bywyd y cartref a hamdden, gwaith a gwleidyddiaeth, gan adlewyrchu gwaith ymchwil helaeth a manwl gan hanesydd uchel ei pharch. 24 llun du-a-gwyn. Cyhoeddwyd gyntaf yn Hydref 2000, gydag ail argraffiad yn Ebrill 2001.

A highly interesting account of the astounding changes in the life of Welsh women during the twentieth century, in the fields of health and education, home and leisure life, work and politics, reflecting extensive and detailed research by an eminent historian. 24 black-and-white illustrations. First published in October 2000, with a second reprint in April 2001.
Perhaps one of the first to consider a history of women was the always-good-for-a-quote Shakespeare. In Twelfth Night, the Duke asks Viola, ‘And what’s her history?’ The reply, for a long time, could have been an appropriate summation of women’s history in Wales, for Viola responds, ‘A blank, my Lord’. The response is no longer apposite, for we now, thanks to this splendid book by Emeritus Professor Deirdre Beddoe, have filled in much of the blank.

Out of the Shadows: A History of Women in Twentieth-Century Wales provides an entertaining introduction to its subject. And, like all good entertainments, it leaves you wanting more. The topics covered are discussed in a judicious and balanced way, which does not give undue pre-eminence or prominence to any single aspect of women’s lives and struggles. Inevitably the two world wars, which were such a liberating force in the lives of women, feature largely. One of the most compelling statistics quoted in the book is the fact that the Second World War saw an increase of 134 per cent in women’s participation rates in Wales. In the rest of Britain, the increase was a mere 30 per cent. This reveals how severe Welsh women’s exclusion from the market and work place had been previously.

The wars were also a time when moralists expressed the view that Welsh women’s chastity had fast gone the way of all flesh. There are several fine quotations here, which indicate that the 'Double Standard' of sexual inequality continued in Wales into the mid-twentieth century. Perhaps, in part, it is still with us. For despite the enormous changes which have taken place during the period covered by this book, glaring examples of inequality, as Professor Beddoe outlines, continue to bedevil our society. Even in education, so long the preserve of deeply dedicated women, the senior posts are almost exclusively a male prerogative.

This book is a welcome addition to the historiography of modern Wales. It wins back for the history of Wales in the twentieth century that half of humanity which has been generally sidelined or ignored. In several telling comments it reveals that the annals of the Welsh were not short and simple, but long and complex.

The book contains a number of splendid photographs, which further assist our women’s journey out of the shadows. The photograph of Swansea National Shell factory women’s football team of 1918 is quite remarkable. Arms crossed, the women stare and smile confidently across the years at the viewer; not only have they proved that they can fulfil men’s industrial role, they have also appropriated one of man’s sacred preserves, football. Another picture shows Mrs Blodwen Williams on her knees washing the pavement in front of her house in Ynys-y-Bwl in the 1930s; despite the drudgery, she also smiles at the viewer, while behind her the road curves away into the far distance. After reading this excellent book you know that such heroic women cleaned as far as the camera lens could focus and beyond. Blodwen too was in a war zone; her battles, fought against dirt, disease and death, were no less heroic for not having been fought on a battlefield.

Russell Davies

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
Out of the Shadows reveals the fascinating story of women’s lives in Wales during the twentieth century. In this major contribution to the gendered history of Wales, Deirdre Beddoe draws on wide-ranging historical sources, including extensive archival research, to illuminate key areas of women’s lives – education, health, home life, leisure, politics and waged work. Moreover, this comprehensive study pays attention to regional variations and differing linguistic and cultural traditions and thus offers a
pluralist and inclusive vision of Welsh women’s identity. In a style that is both lively and learned, Deirdre Beddoe reconstructs the everyday experiences of ordinary women and reassesses the contributions of a number of hitherto neglected female pioneers in a
whole range of social and political movements.
This ground-breaking yet accessible text is accompanied by a good selection of illustrations. Out of the Shadows will be essential reading not only for students and teachers of women’s history, but for all those interested in women’s history in general and the history of Wales in particular.
Deirdre Beddoe is Emeritus Professor of Women’s History at the University of Glamorgan. She is also a broadcaster and the author of several books on women’s history, including Welsh Convict Women, Discovering Women’s History: A Practical Manual and Back to Home and Duty: Women in Britain Between the Wars.
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