Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain, 1860–1940


Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain, 1860–1940

This book examines the dramatic fall in family size that occurred in Britain between 1860 and 1940. It overturns current thinking by showing how much variety there was in the occupational patterns of falling fertility. There are entirely new and surprising findings: births were widely spaced from early in marriage; and sexual abstinence by married couples was far more important than previously imagined. This study uniquely integrates the fields of demographic, feminist and labor with intellectual and political history, and will be of interest to all historians, and social and policy scientists.


 Reviews:

"This study has a good deal to offer. The book is valuable..." Times Literary Supplement

"This work is a blockbuster of a book; it is monumental in size and scope, iconoclastic in its revisionism, and brilliant in its argumentation...his thesis, supported by massive empirical evidence, turns the traditional theory of the demographic revolution on its head. It deserves to be taken seriously and, if possible, answered by those whom he has so strikingly refuted." The Historian

"...this important book is part of a new movement by historians and anthropologists to put the decline of fertility in a much broader and more complex social and cultural perspective." David I. Kertzer, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Among the many strengths of this rich, provacative, and highly original contribution to the numerous studies of declining fertility in Europe and Great Britain that have appeared over the past half century is the way Szreter juxtaposes his own work to this diverse historiographical tradition....There is enough in this masterfully researched book to excite, confront, and irritate a wide range of readers, but for anyone interested in historical demography and the way it can be studied in the context of modern (and postmodern) social, economic, political, and cultural history, Szreter's book must be near the top of the list of essential and innovative works to be consulted." Richard A. Soloway, Albion

"This work is a blockbuster of a book; it is monumental in size and scope, iconoclastic in its revisionism, and brilliant in its argumentation." Harold Perkin,

"This work is a blockbuster of a book; it is monumental in size and scope, iconoclastic in its revisionism, and brilliant in its argumentation." Harold Perkin, The Historian

"...Simon Szreter's big, ambitious book make some solid contributions to our understanding of the way the British demographic transition may have occurres by encouraging a healthy skepticism towards one of the classic sources of British demography and demonstrating the value of microdemographic approaches to complex questions of social change." KAtherine A. Lynch, Journal of Social History

"...this is a fine work of social history whose author fears neither quantitative nor qualitative theoretical approaches and so by their combination provides us with a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the major question of fertility decline than we have enjoyed to date." Carl Ipsen, Victorian Studies

"This work is a blockbuster of a book; it is monumental in size and scope, iconoclastic in its revisionism, and brilliant in its argumentation." Harold Perkin, The HIstorian

"...fascinating and provocative.... There is much of interest in this densely packed book, and I unhesitantly recommend it to anyone interested in public health, sexual behavior, and fertility change." James G. Hanley, Ph.D.; Journal of the History of Medicine

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