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  • Published: 5 February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241962923
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
Categories:

In the Family Way

Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties




Unmarried mothers, absent fathers, orphaned children - Jane Robinson's In the Family Way is a truly gripping book about long-buried secrets, family bonds and unlikely heroes.

Only a generation or two ago, illegitimacy was one of the most shameful things that could happen in a family. Unmarried mothers were considered immoral, single fathers feckless and bastard children inherently defective. They were hidden away from friends and relations as guilty secrets, punished by society and denied their place in the family tree.

Today, the concept of illegitimacy no longer exists in law, and babies' parents are as likely to be unmarried as married. This revolution in public opinion makes it easy to forget what it was really like to give birth, or be born, out of wedlock in the years between World War One and the dawn of the Permissive Age. By speaking to those involved - many of whom have never felt able to talk about their experiences before - Jane Robinson reveals a story not only of shame and appalling prejudice, but also of triumph and the every-day strength of the human spirit.

In the Family Way tells secrets kept for entire lifetimes and rescues from the shadows an important part of all our family histories. In it we hear long-silent voices from the workhouse, the Magdalene Laundry or the distant mother-and-baby home. Anonymous childhoods are recalled, spent in the care of Dr Barnardo or a Child Migration scheme halfway across the world.

There are sorrowful stories in this book, but it is also about hope: about supportive families who defied social expectations by welcoming 'love-children' home, or those who were parted and are now reconciled. Most of all, In the Family Way is about finally telling the truth.

Praise for Bluestockings

'A gem of a book. Social history of the best kind' Sunday Times

'Fascinating. Inspiring. Impassioned and wonderfully entertaining' Scotsman

Jane Robinson was born in Edinburgh and brought up in North Yorkshire. After reading English at Somerville College, Oxford, she became an antiquarian book dealer, and later a writer and lecturer. In the Family Way is her ninth book, and like her previous work, including the acclaimed Bluestockings and A Force to Be Reckoned With, it confirms her as one of our most engaging and original social historians. Jane lives near Oxford with her husband and two sons.
%%%Unmarried mothers, absent fathers, orphaned children - Jane Robinson's In the Family Way is a truly gripping book about long-buried secrets, family bonds and unlikely heroes.
Only a generation or two ago, illegitimacy was one of the most shameful things that could happen in a family. Unmarried mothers were considered immoral, single fathers feckless and bastard children inherently defective. They were hidden away from friends and relations as guilty secrets, punished by society and denied their place in the family tree.
Today, the concept of illegitimacy no longer exists in law, and babies' parents are as likely to be unmarried as married. This revolution in public opinion makes it easy to forget what it was really like to give birth, or be born, out of wedlock in the years between World War One and the dawn of the Permissive Age. By speaking to those involved - many of whom have never felt able to talk about their experiences before - Jane Robinson reveals a story not only of shame and appalling prejudice, but also of triumph and the every-day strength of the human spirit.
In the Family Way tells secrets kept for entire lifetimes and rescues from the shadows an important part of all our family histories. In it we hear long-silent voices from the workhouse, the Magdalene Laundry or the distant mother-and-baby home. Anonymous childhoods

  • Published: 5 February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241962923
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
Categories:

About the author

Jane Robinson

Jane Robinson is also the author of Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Piligrimage and How Women Won the Vote and Bluestockings: the Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education. She was born in Edinburgh and brought up in Yorkshire before going to Oxford University to study English Language and Literature at Somerville College. She has worked in the antiquarian book trade and as an archivist and is now a full-time writer and lecturer, specialising in social history through women's eyes. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, member of the Society of Authors, and founder member of Writers in Oxford. She is married with two sons and lives in Buckinghamshire. Ladies Can't Climb Ladders is her eleventh book.

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