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The Secret History of Home Economics by Danielle Dreilinger
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The Secret History of Home Economics

How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live

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Narrator Rachel Perry
Length 11 hours 18 minutes
Language English
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The term "home economics" may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But common conception obscures the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and businesspeople. And it has something to teach us today.

In the surprising, often fiercely feminist, and always fascinating The Secret History of Home Economics, Danielle Dreilinger traces the field's history from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies. These women—and they were mostly women—became chemists and marketers, studied nutrition, health, and exercise, tested parachutes, created astronaut food, and took bold steps in childhood development and education.

Home economics followed the currents of American culture even as it shaped them. Dreilinger brings forward the racism within the movement along with the strides taken by women of color who were influential leaders and innovators. She also looks at the personal lives of home economics' women, as they chose to be single, share lives with other women, or try for egalitarian marriages.

Danielle Dreilinger is a former New Orleans Times-Picayune education reporter and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow. She also wrote for the Boston Globe and worked at the Boston NPR station WGBH. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rachel Perry narrates audiobooks from her home studio in Los Angeles, California. She is a prolific narrator of romance, but also enjoys working in the mystery, self-development, religion, parenting, and young adult genres. With a background in fine arts, she has studied art and acting in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, and Second City improv in Chicago. She has been a TV host, performed comedy, acted in TV shows and commercials, and worked in radio.

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