Daily Life of Women in Postwar America

Greenwood. (Daily Life Through History). Feb. 2021. 291p. ISBN 9781440871283. $63. REF
Hendricks (Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life in American History; Daily Life in 1950s America) has written this volume devoted to women’s lives after World War II, and organized it by sections on domestic, economic, intellectual, material, political, recreational, and religious life. (Considerable redundancy results from overlap among these topics.) Hendricks carefully considers how the lives of women of color differed from the lives of white women. Consumerism and new media, especially television, are keynotes in the narrative. This work draws from many sources but isn’t scholarly or particularly groundbreaking (Rosa Parks, Oberlin, and blockbusting are covered, but not Claudette Colvin, Hunter College, or redlining). Rape, marital or nonmarital, is never mentioned. Marilyn Monroe understandably features; Katharine Hepburn is barely mentioned. Nevertheless, abundant detail animates the descriptions. The book has an extensive bibliography organized by chapter, as well as four appendixes that list nonacademic works mentioned in the volume, including 1950s best sellers and “culturally significant” books; 1950s media award winners; and “most popular entertainment” (movies, records, TV). The breadth of the bibliography and appendixes opens many paths to research.
VERDICT Readable, reliable, and wide-ranging, this volume will appeal to those with a general interest in U.S. cultural history.
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