Book news

  • Double Lives review – the mother of all battles for equality
    Yvonne Roberts

    Helen McCarthy’s landmark history of the lives of working mothers highlights the discrimination that remains to this day

    Isabel Killick, an impoverished East End tailoress with three children and a sickly husband, appeared before a House of Lords select committee in 1888 and, on one of the rare occasions in which a working-class woman could speak for herself directly to those in power, she explained that she worked from 6am to 8pm in her home to feed her family by “trouser finishing” .

    Her own daily diet was a cup of tea and a herring, “as for meat, I do not expect; I get meat once in six months”. Killick was one of 4 million girls and women in paid work in Victorian Britain – 15% of whom were mothers. As historian Helen McCarthy explains in Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood, such women were a well-established feature but were considered a deviancy, far from the social norm.

    Women are still unlawfully sacked in pregnancy; still predominantly earn less than men

    Continue reading...

  • The Inevitability of Tragedy review: a life of Henry Kissinger for our Trumpian times
    Lloyd Green

    As US-China relations deteriorate, Barry Gewen offers an unsparing biography of a man still at the center of events

    Only two of America’s secretaries of state are foreign-born, and their presence in Foggy Bottom is owed to the downfall of the Weimar Republic. As the Third Reich rose, a teenage Henry Kissinger fled Germany for upper Manhattan. Ten years later, Madeleine Albright arrived in the US. Her father, Josef Korbel, was a Czech diplomat who spent the war years in London.

    Related: Trumpocalypse review: David Frum bushwhacks a new axis of evil

    More often than not, the author gives Kissinger the benefit of the doubt – even as the bodies pile up

    Related: Under Trump, America has gone a bit late Weimar. We know how that ended | Lloyd Green

    Continue reading...