Sinners? Scroungers? Saints?: Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth-Century England by Pat Thane

Sinners? Scroungers? Saints?: Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth-Century England

byPat Thane, Tanya Evans

Paperback | September 1, 2013

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Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? is the first book to describe the real lives of unmarried mothers, and attitudes towards them, in England from the First World War to the present day. Pat Thane and Tanya Evans use biographies and memoirs, as well as archives and official sources, to challengestereotypes of the mothers as desolate women, rejected by society and by their families, until social attitudes were transformed in the "permissive" 1960s. They demonstrate the diversity of their lives, their social backgrounds, and how often they were supported by their families, neighbours, andthe fathers of their children before the 1960s, and the continuing hostility by some sections of society since then. They challenge stereotypes, too, about the impact of war on sexual behaviour, and about the stability of family life before the 1960s.Much of the evidence comes from the records of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child, set up by sympathetic men and women in 1918 to help a social group they believed were neglected, and which is still very active today, as Gingerbread, supporting lone parents in need of help.Their work tells us not only about the lives of those mothers and children who had no other support, but also another important story about the vibrancy of voluntary action throughout the past century and its continuing vital role, working alongside and in co-operation with the Welfare State to helpmothers into work, among other things. Their history is an inspiring example of how, throughout the past century, voluntary organizations in the "Big Society" worked with, not against, the "Big State".

About The Author

Pat Thane is Research Professor in Contemporary History at Kings College, London, UK. Tanya Evans is Research Fellow at Macquarie University in Australia.
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Details & Specs

Title:Sinners? Scroungers? Saints?: Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth-Century EnglandFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:September 1, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199681988

ISBN - 13:9780199681983

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Secrets and Lies: Being and Becoming an Unmarried Mother in Early Twentieth-Century England2. Between the Wars3. The Second World War: Another Moral Panic4. Unmarried Motherhood in 'Family Britain': Challenging Bowlby5. Unmarried Mothers in the 'Welfare State'6. The Permissive Society? Unmarried Motherhood in the 1960s7. A Finer Future?8. The Struggle Continues : 1980s-90s9. Into the Twenty-First Century: ProgressBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The new histories of the entire twentieth century represent a welcome historiographical trend, and this specific narrative links policy history to social history in a highly productive and readable fashion." --H-Soz-u-Kult