A Book Review by Howard Spencer

Between 1880 and 1914, there was widespread public debate about the threat of the labor done by women and its effect to their bodies, reproductive abilities, and the future of the race. Stimulated by a series of sensational stories in the press, this debate included legislators, politicians, doctors, working men and several feminist organizations.

The English government responded by enacting a series of tightly focused legislative acts collectively known as The Dangerous Trades Regulations, allegedly designed to protect women and their unborn children in the white lead and pottery trades but quickly expanded to cover other real or presumed hazardous jobs.

American Historical Review states that the book is “A valuable historical examination of narratives of gender, danger and risks.” Medical History Journal says “This is a useful text which recasts some familiar evidence and established themes in a fresh light by engaging with a wider literature on gender politics.” History Magazine calls it “A succinct, enjoyable, and readable volume on a neglected topic.”

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