Katherine Whitehorn

Escaping the Mad Men

The Fifties Mystique

By

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To people who are young now, the Fifties are as remote as the Regency – their world dates from the Sixties at the earliest. But those of us who lived through them have very differing views. Jessica Mann, in this excellently readable book, sees them as a retrograde era when many of the freedoms and pleasures we take for granted today had not yet arrived; and that besides physical deprivations dating from the war – rationing, the bleakness of damaged buildings – there was above all a sense that the only things women were for were homemaking and looking after children. Seen too often through rose-coloured spectacles, the Fifties, Mann thinks, were pretty grim.

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