Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties by Rachel Cooke - review by Anne Sebba

Anne Sebba

Housewives & Heroines

Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties

By

Virago 324pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

What a brilliant idea this book is. By writing essays about the (often deeply unlikely) careers of ten extraordinary women in Britain in the Fifties, Rachel Cooke throws new light on a whole society. In fact, she blasts a high-beam spotlight onto a repressive, secretive yet in some ways forgiving culture where, as long as the Kenwood Chefs kept whirring, nobody explored too far beneath the shiny Formica worktop surface. 

Although a Fifties Ercol table was, Cooke insists, the catalyst for this engrossing book, it is much more than a history of objects. It’s important to remember that a British woman in the Fifties could not take out a mortgage in her own name and that a prescription for contraception

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter