How Was It For You?

Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s

Virginia Nicholson author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:5th Mar '20


Available to order, but very limited on stock - if we have issues obtaining a copy, we will let you know.

How Was It For You? cover

The real story of women in the 1960s- Flower Power, the Pill, Miniskirts . . . Tupperware and ideal homes.

'One of the great social historians of our time. No one else makes history this fun' Amanda Foreman

'How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade' David Kynaston


"A feeling that we could do whatever we liked swept through us in the 60s . . ."

The sixties: a decade of space travel, utopian dreams and - above all - sexual revolution. It liberated a generation. But mostly men.

Meet dollybird Mavis, debutante Kristina, bunny girl Patsy, industrial campaigner Mary and countercultural Caroline. From Carnaby Street to Merseyside, white gloves to Black is Beautiful, their stories illustrate a turbulent power struggle, throwing an unsparing spotlight on morals, 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 and psychedelia, but also misogyny, violation and discrimination, in a decade discovering a new cause: equality.

And women would never be the same again.


'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

'An absorbing study of an extraordinary age. Beautifully written and intensively researched' Selina Hastings

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 -- Amanda Foreman
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 -- Juliet Nicolson
Essential reading for all those who lived through it, and for those who came after -- Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade -- David Kynaston
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 -- Hunter Davies
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 -- Richard Vinen, author of The Long '68
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 -- Selina Hastings
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 -- Sheila Rowbotham
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, author of Les Parisiennes
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 -- Priya Parmar
A tremendous achievement... a triumph of research and organisation - but also of sympathy * Observer on Millions Like Us *
An important and humane book of female social history * The Times on Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes *
A ground-breaking book, richly nuanced with titbits of information, insight and understanding * Daily Mail on Singled Out *
Virginia Nicholson is the outstanding recorder of British lives in the twentieth century. She has told us how it was for British women - and therefore of course for men and children - in the twentieth century. The formidable research and sympathetic understanding of so many different lives make this account of the 1960s - that swinging, sexy, revolutionary decade - the most vivid and moving of all her works. A fascinating decade, a fascinating book -- Carmen Callil, author of Bad Faith
I loved this. Yes, the 1960s were good fun, sometimes. But Virginia Nicholson forensically unpicks what "promiscuity" really meant for flower-chicks, fearful of seeming un-cool. They were perpetuating a society as patriarchal and phallocentric as ever - even in the counter-culture. I was there, and she's right. Amazingly right about so many things. Roll on the 1970s when things did change - but that's for another of her excellent books -- Valerie Grove, author of Laurie Lee
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 *
This vivid comprehensive study brought so many memories flooding back to me! It's a treat for those of us who were around in the sixties, and delightfully instructive for those who weren't -- Dame Jacqueline Wilson
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 * The Sunday Times *
Clever . . . absorbing * Daily Mail *

ISBN: 9780241975183

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 31mm

Weight: 427g

512 pages