In this powerful memoir Sheila Rowbotham looks back at her life as a participant in the women’s liberation movement, left politics and the creative radical culture of a decade in which freedom and equality seemed possible. She reveals the tremendous efforts that were made to transform attitudes and feelings, as well as daily life.
After addressing the first British Women’s Liberation Conference at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1970, she went on to encourage night cleaners to unionise, to campaign for nurseries and abortion rights. She played an influential role in discussions of socialist feminist ideas and her books and journalism attracted an international readership.
Written with generosity and humour Daring to Hope recreates grassroots networks, communal houses and squats, bringing alive a shared impetus to organise collectively and to love without jealousy or domination. It conveys the shifts occurring in politics and society through kernels of personal experience. The result is a book about liberation in the widest sense.
“For Rowbotham, women’s liberation was bound up with the dismantling of capitalism. But it also required—and here they departed from the Old Guard left—a rethinking of everyday patterns of life, relating to sex, love, housework, child rearing.”
“Frank, powerful and vibrant.”
“Daring to Hope captures [Rowbotham’s] youthful Utopian spirit. In it, she looks back at a decade of social change and recounts her experiences on the frontline of feminism.”
“Thoroughly engaging … I felt aligned with the frank and personal account of a young woman’s life changing throughout the decade.”
“A deeply compelling story about the making of our own times … Rowbotham’s humanity and craft shines through.”
“Rowbotham has wisdom—and wit.”
“A very enjoyable read, chronicling the ways in which the author engaged with the increasing challenges of the 1970s, while maintaining her hopes for an alternative future”
“[Daring to Hope] shows us what is possible, but that it is our job to go out and do it.”
“Exciting ... I read it over a weekend.”
“Beautifully-measured account of a radical decade ... [Rowbotham] meets and makes friends with suffragettes, old communists and an ageless Dora Russell. This book is a valuable bridge between today's feminism and that of our forebears.”