Thursday, 21 February 2013
Review: Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans
Beyond the Ladies' Lounge: Australian Women Publicans by Clare Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Some books, you can just tell they're a thesis turned into publishable form. That's not a criticism (especially not coming from me), it's just that published theses read differently to popular history. And it just makes me wonder (a little) how this got into our library collection. Because it's on an odd topic and it's not by a big publisher.
But anyway: I'm really glad I stumbled across this book. It's a history (thematic rather than narrative) of women publicans, particularly in Victoria. Wright traces the history of Australia and women publicans through legislation, social acceptance, literary portrayal, and political influence. I've got some literary theory issues with that particular chapter, and it's fairly clear that Clare Wright's feminism is not my feminism, but all the same, it's an interesting and thoroughly readable book that challenges some of the suppositions around the history of pubs in Australia.
That said, I'd now love to read a history of the Ladies Lounge and the place of women in Australia's drinking culture. Anyone know a good one?
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