More Work for Mother by Ruth Schwartz Cowan
Look inside with Google Book Preview
More Work for Mother
By Ruth Schwartz Cowan

More Work for Mother

The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave

By (author) See other recent books by Ruth Schwartz Cowan
Format: Paperback

Normal Price: $39.99
Your Price: $35.99 AUD, inc. GST
Shipping: $7.95 per order
You Save: $4.00! (10% off normal price)
Plus...earn $1.80 in Boomerang Bucks
Availability: Available Available, ships in 7-10 days

More Work for Mother by Ruth Schwartz Cowan

Book Description

In this classic work of women's history (winner of the 1984 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology), Ruth Schwartz Cowan shows how and why modern women devote as much time to housework as did their colonial sisters. In lively and provocative prose, Cowan explains how the modern conveniences--washing machines, white flour, vacuums, commercial cotton--seemed at first to offer working-class women middle-class standards of comfort. Over time, however, it became clear that these gadgets and gizmos mainly replaced work previously conducted by men, children, and servants. Instead of living lives of leisure, middle-class women found themselves struggling to keep up with ever higher standards of cleanliness.

Buy More Work for Mother book by Ruth Schwartz Cowan from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780465047321
ISBN-10: 0465047327
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 18-Feb-1985
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Ruth Schwartz Cowan

Heredity and Hope by Ruth Schwartz Cowan Heredity and Hope, Hardback (May 2008)

Argues that forms of genetic screening - prenatal, newborn, and carrier testing - are both morally right and politically acceptable. This book includes chapters on the often misunderstood testing programs for sickle cell anemia, and on one of the world's only mandated premarital screening programs, both of them on the island of Cyprus.

» View all books by Ruth Schwartz Cowan


US Kirkus Review » The ironies revolve around the idea that household industrialization has led to less work for father, more work for mother; the basic fallacy lies in equating the open hearth and the microwave. True, Prof. Cowan (History, SUNY/Stony Brook) achieves a clearer, sharper focus on the technological improvements than Susan Strasser's exposition of this thesis, Never Done (1982). She also has recourse to a hypothetical Connecticut couple to guide us through the changing times and technologies. Nonetheless, the book reduces to one big feminist point applied - rather flatly - to a mass of detail. If the pre-Industrial household was based on the labor of both spouses, then the early stages of industrialization paved the way for increasing inequality. "Merchant flour, cast-iron stoves, municipal water, and manufactured boots did not free [women] from their labors. Insofar as these commodities allowed men and boys to leave their homes and. . . created new jobs that only women could perform, women were tied even more strongly. . . to their cast-iron hearths." Further industrialization did move many tasks out of the house - clothes-making, health, food-preserving-but expanded the time relegated to transportation. "The automobile had become, to the American housewife of the middle classes, what the cast-iron stove. . . would have been to her counterpart of 1850 - the vehicle through which she did much of her most significant work." The "golden years" of housework were 1900-1920, when the average middle-class woman could count on some domestic help, and before she was expected to hold down a job too. While new appliances helped poor women achieve "basic amenities that their mother could not have attained," the disappearance of servants has meant that "women who had been in comfortable circumstances before the war. . . were under increasing pressure. . . to shoulder the burden of housework alone." Add in outside employment and the result is more work for mother. But there's an apples and oranges problem here: is labor to be judged by hours alone? Does driving to ballet classes match beating the rugs? (Does a microwave take the time or the trouble of an open hearth?) Strong on research, short on common sense. (Kirkus Reviews)

» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about More Work for Mother book by Ruth Schwartz Cowan and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a member - it's free to sign up!)

Write a book review

Author Biography - Ruth Schwartz Cowan

Ruth Schwartz Cowan is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Boomerang Bucks close

For every $20 you spend on books, you will receive $1 in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars. You can use your Boomerang Bucks as a credit towards a future purchase from Boomerang Books. Note that you must be a Member (free to sign up) and that conditions do apply.

Recent books by Ruth Schwartz Cowan close
Heredity and Hope by Ruth Schwartz Cowan
» close