Rebel women between the wars

Fearless writers and adventurers

By Sarah Lonsdale

Rebel women between the wars


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3711-1
  • Pages: 432
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: October 2020
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Women


What did it mean to be a 'rebel woman' in the interwar years? Taking the form of a multiple biography, this book traces the struggles, passions and achievements of a set of 'fearlessly determined' women who stopped at nothing to make their mark in the traditionally masculine environments of mountaineering, politics, engineering and journalism. From the motorist Claudia Parsons to the 'star' reporter Margaret Lane, the mountaineer Dorothy Pilley and the journalist Shiela Grant Duff, the women charted in this book challenged the status quo in all walks of life, alongside writing vivid, eye-witness accounts of their adventures. Recovering their voices across a range of texts including novels, poems, journalism and diaries, Rebel women between the wars reveals their inch by inch gains won through courageous and sometimes controversial and dangerous actions.


'I loved this engaging and often thrilling glimpse of a cohort of women between the wars who defied social expectations, and lived the lives they wanted to live. Their interweaving stories of quiet subversion and bold visibility provoked me to both admiration and the irrepressible urge to keep reading bits out to people.'
Lissa Evans, bestselling author of Old Baggage and Crooked Heart

'A brilliant book which brings to life the incredible stories of inspirational women. Their acts of courage changed the world for good. This wonderful book is a must read for the next generation of rebels.'
Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress

'Every rebel heart will be uplifted by the lives of these women; they broke with convention, rocked boats, and dared to do the unexpected. This book sends the message loudly 'yes you can' and should be read by everyone putting their own toe in the water, seeking courage to live out their dreams.'
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

'Lonsdale's subjects are [...] pioneering journalists who weaponize words to attack the citadels of the Establishment. This, with their energy, is what draws them together.'

'Engaging and pacily written'.
History Today

'Truly inspiring reading.'
T P Fielden, Daily Express (Books of the Year 2020)


Introduction: 'The women at the gate'
1 Female friendship, work and collaboration
2 Alternative channels
3 Parallel platforms and safe havens
4 Risk-takers
5 Parental influence and family networks
6 Rejecting the feminine
7 Formal networks
8 Explosive engagement
9 Hiding in plain sight


Sarah Lonsdale is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at City, University of London

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