Length: 512 Pages
"A feeling that we could do whatever we liked swept through us in the 60s..."
The sexual revolution liberated a generation. But men most of all.
We tend to think of the 60s as a decade sprinkled with stardust: a time of space travel and utopian dreams, but above all of sexual abandonment. When the pill was introduced on the NHS in 1961 it seemed, for the first time, that women - like men - could try without buying.
"It was paradise for men... all these willing girls..."
But this book - by 'one of the great social historians of our time' - describes a turbulent power struggle.
Here are the voices from the battleground. Meet dollybird Mavis, debutante Kristina, Beryl who sang with the Beatles, bunny girl Patsy, Christian student Anthea, industrial campaigner Mary and countercultural Caroline. From Carnaby Street to Merseyside, from mods to rockers, from white gloves to Black is Beautiful, their stories throw an unsparing spotlight on morals, four-letter words, faith, drugs, race, bomb culture and sex.
This is a moving, shocking book about tearing up the world and starting again. It's about peace, love, psychedelia and strange pleasures, but it is also about misogyny, violation and discrimination - half a century before feminism rebranded. For out of the swamp of gropers and groupies, a movement was emerging, and discovering a new cause: equality.
The 1960s: this was where it all began. Women would never be the same again.
'One of the great social historians of our time. No one else makes makes history this fun' Amanda Foreman
'Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade' David Kynaston
'An absorbing study of an extraordinary age. Beautifully written and intensively researched' Selina Hastings
'Every baby boomer should read this great and wonderfully revelatory book if only to shout, "Ah yes, that's exactly what it was like for me!"' Anne Sebba
'Virginia Nicholson is the outstanding recorder of British lives in the twentieth century... and this account of the 1960s is the most vivid and moving of all her works' Carmen Callil
'Essential reading' Marina Lewycka
'A dazzling kaleidoscope of facts, feelings and observations' Juliet Nicolson
'A hugely ambitious, kaleidoscope of a book' Richard Vinen
'Makes it feel like the Sixties have never been away' Hunter Davies
'I was there, and she's right' Valerie Grove
'Sparklingly readable . . . Having read Nicholson's magisterial and sensuous overview of the decade, I feel I'm floating above the Sixties (a bit like Lucy in the Sky) and looking down on them with a new understanding ' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Times
'The stories are terrific' Rosie Boycott, Financial Times
'Sparkling . . . there is a wonderfully diverse range of voices . . . we have a long way to go, but reading this book made me grateful for how far we have come' Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times
Length: 512 Pages
Virginia Nicholson is one of the great social historians of our time, and How Was It For You? is another jewel in her crown. No one else makes makes history this fun
They say that if you remember the 1960s you weren't really there. But if you really weren't, then the next best thing is to read this fascinating book. With the meticulous attention worthy of a Vidal Sassoon haircut, Virginia Nicholson has shaped her dazzling kaleidoscope of facts, feelings and observations, into a razor-sharp account of the women who lived through that tumultuous decade
Essential reading for all those who lived through it, and for those who came after
Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade
How Was It For You? brings it all back. As always Virginia Nicholson's book is full of fascinating history and fascinating new material. It makes it feel like the Sixties have never been away, which they never have been, as far as I'm concerned. Wonderful
A hugely ambitious, kaleidoscope of a book, written in a sympathetic but also hard-headed tone that captures squalor and tragedy as well as glamour
Virginia Nicholson's social history of the lives of women during the 1960s is an absorbing study of an extraordinary age. Beautifully written and intensively researched, it covers a wide range of characters and many levels of society, uncovering with remarkable perspicacity a world of rebellion and change. I am sure How Was It for You? will remain a vital study for many years to come
Written with verve, wit and empathy, this account of the 1960s skilfully interweaves the lives of individual women with broader social and cultural changes. Virginia Nicholson nudges the reader to reconsider the well- beaten tracks and to reflect upon out-of-the-way experiences. Best of all How Was It For You? neither idealises nor excoriates the bouncy, controversial decade
Every baby boomer should read this great and wonderfully revelatory book if only to shout, 'Ah yes, that's exactly what it was like for me!'
For those of us who missed the 60's, Virginia Nicholson catapults this era to roaring, authentic life. Rich with intimate voices and a keen edged analysis of the public perceptions at work, this book brilliantly evokes the struggle between the urgent change and the heavily freighted forces of tradition that defined this singularly compelling decade. Read it. It is unputdownable