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A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... drugs, right wrongs, foment revolution, do it all differently. We had a dream, and according to Sheila Rowbotham, it was to be more than the promise of a dream. The old meanwhile turned towards each other, panicked and took us at our word. But that’s part of the deal. Becoming the older generation is, it turns out, difficult enough; there isn’t ...

Strawberries in December

Paul Laity: She Radicals, 30 March 2017

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 512 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 1 78478 588 8
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... Edward Carpenter. Born and Daniell, two of the half-dozen ‘puzzled idealists’ whose lives Sheila Rowbotham follows in Rebel Crossings, were members of the Bristol Socialist Society, a body that aspired to ‘the attainment of the higher ideals of life’ regardless of class or sex. Its members met in coffee houses, read from their favourite poets ...

V.G. Kiernan writes about the Marx sisters

V.G. Kiernan, 16 September 1982

The Daughters of Karl Marx: Family Correspondence 1866-98 
edited by Olga Meier, translated by Faith Evans.
Deutsch, 342 pp., £14.95, June 1982, 0 233 97337 0
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... and now reappear in the English in which most of them were written, with a new introduction by Sheila Rowbotham. They are arranged in six parts, each covering a period of variable length but with some unity in terms of the family annals. There are helpful explanatory notes, though one or two of them may be queried. It is a little misleading to refer ...

Making It

Melissa Benn: New Feminism?, 5 February 1998

Different for Girls: How Culture Creates Women 
by Joan Smith.
Chatto, 176 pp., £10.99, September 1997, 9780701165123
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The New Feminism 
by Natasha Walter.
Little, Brown, 278 pp., £17.50, January 1998, 0 316 88234 8
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A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Penguin, 752 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 670 87420 5
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... buoyancy permitted a greater emotional risk-taking as well as a greater generosity to others. Sheila Rowbotham touches on these differences between the generations in her monumental history of women in Britain and the United States in the 20th century. She is particularly illuminating on the decades she has lived through. In her hands, stereotypes ...

Post-War Memories

Danny Karlin, 19 December 1985

‘The Good War’: An Oral History of World War Two 
by Studs Terkel.
Hamish Hamilton, 589 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 241 11493 4
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Truth, Dare or Promise: Girls Growing up in the Fifties 
edited by Liz Heron.
Virago, 248 pp., £4.95, June 1985, 0 86068 596 9
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... German forests and medieval bell-towers. At 19, you’re seeing life with fresh eyes. And here is Sheila Rowbotham, ‘remembering’ her adolescence in the Fifties: As I tussled with Christianity and to order the world in my head, I became conscious of an oscillation of temperament. I was drawn to contrary poles. I yearned towards the mystical ...


Colm Tóibín: The revolutionary Edward Carpenter, 29 January 2009

Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 565 pp., £24.99, October 2008, 978 1 84467 295 0
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... him or sought his advice. It would be easy to read Carpenter as a crank, a soft-hearted nuisance. Sheila Rowbotham’s book is immensely valuable because she understands the wide range of left-wing ideas about progress in Victorian society and its aftermath, which is the context in which Carpenter lived, and thus can see how original and influential ...

Sexual Politics

Michael Neve, 5 February 1981

Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship 
by Chushichi Tsuzuki.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 521 23371 2
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... he experienced, seem even more impressive after this biography and the work of others, such as Sheila Rowbotham, on the topic. In ways not important to the Cambridge mind, Carpenter seems to have managed to enter a lively and purposeful socialist environment, making extensive contacts with Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation, as well as with ...

Thinking Women

Jane Miller, 6 November 1986

... The Rights and Wrongs of Women. A central theme of both books and of the work of a writer like Sheila Rowbotham has been the need to keep track of feminism’s history and of the place of history within feminist analyses. There is certainly by now a long history to feminism, though it is usually charted in terms of its phases and moments, gaps and ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... the Shell Centre to the Ministry of Defence with her friend and fellow feminist, the historian Sheila Rowbotham, and remonstrating with May Hobbs, the forceful and ambitious leader of the Cleaners’ Action Group: ‘They haven’t got the time to run their own branch, May, never mind their own union,’ Alexander says, and a little later she’s ...

As Many Pairs of Shoes as She Likes

Jenny Turner: On Feminism, 15 December 2011

... So why did the libbers so seldom say so? Well, some came to the movement as Marxists, and did. Sheila Rowbotham wrote that ‘the so-called women’s question is a whole-people question’ in Women’s Liberation and the New Politics (1969); then in 1976 Barbara Ehrenreich stressed that ‘there is no way to understand sexism as it acts on our lives ...


Jeremy Harding: My ’68, 19 July 2018

... from the kitchen and the bedroom to the workplace (‘Revolutions are made about little things,’ Sheila Rowbotham had said in 1969). Children of the ruling class now whinnied over The Golden Notebook and Bob Marley’s ‘Burnin’ and Lootin’’. I was living in Leeds, playing the pubs and dowdier hotels as second guitar in a band put together by a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bad Manners, 6 July 2000

... metropolitan literary life, but there ought at least to be a guide to subtlety. Rumour has it that Sheila Rowbotham’s Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s (see Jenny Diski’s piece on page 9 of this issue) is to be reviewed in the Financial Times by Tariq Ali. It has been noticed at the LRB that in her lengthy acknowledgments, Tariq Ali is ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... Garnett, John McGrath. You know, from the cultural milieu. There was Clive, Fred Halliday, later Sheila Rowbotham got involved, and Roger Smith, script editor at the BBC. The French May erupted as we were about to launch the first issue, which had come out looking slightly miserabilist and unimaginative. It was generally felt that the cover was ...

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