• The Secret History of Home Economics

  • How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live
  • By: Danielle Dreilinger
  • Narrated by: Rachel Perry
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 20th 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.

©2021 Danielle Dreilinger (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Secret History of Home Economics

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wow, I had no idea!

I have my bs in Home Economics as a dietetics major. I also was very action in 4H in middle and through high school. i saw the heavy science as a challenge in college as I took it with premed majors. I had no idea there were so many ways the major was being undermined.
i truely believe I have a skill set from the variety of classes tough through schools and clu s which helped me see the economic value to society when families thrive. We need these skills taught again and to hire home economics majors with their diversity of skills in leadership positions to move us forward into the interdependant, fast paced societies now and in the future.

2 people found this helpful

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This author twists history out of context for her own political agend to paint white makes in history as xenophobic, sexist.

This book is riddled with leftist perversions! The implementation of women housed together as bisexual without any context that at that time women where housed together in all female dormitories is irresponsible as an author and completely out of context of the times! She takes white men mentioned in this book out of context with the atmosphere of the time period they where living as xenophobic and sexist. This book at best takes the quotes and thinkings of 1900 without any mention of what the context of that time was up against. She twist her own perversions for her political agenda.

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Interesting information, narration is overly dramatic

The overall information is interesting, narration is annoyingly dramatic. Writing is adequate but not particularly captivating.

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Good book, narration not so good

As a person who got two degrees in home economics back in the eighties, I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it. I did learn a lot about how home economics developed in three different socioeconomic groups at the same time—I had no idea. I also learned more about what lead up to the state of the profession that I found upon graduation. I especially liked the last chapter about how desperately we need to bring home economics back.
The narrator would probably be great for children’s books. Her manner of sing-song reading is odd with this kind of book and makes it very hard to follow. Halfway through the book I started thinking the main point of the author was to ridicule home economics and tear down home economists as terrible people, then I realized it was the narration that was making it sound snarky. I’ll make a point of avoiding books read by her in the future.

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Bring back home economics!

Fascinating subject. I learned alot about "home ec" and agree that it should be reinstated.