Struggle or Starve


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Struggle or Starve

Stories of everyday heroism between the wars

Edited by Carol White, Sian Rhiannon Williams

'A delightful book...moving, poignant, funny and a very good historical record' Emeritus Professor Deirdre Beddoe, University of Glamorgan

Anthology, Autobiography & Memoir, Non-Fiction



HONNO VOICES – bringing the past to life

The past is different country, and there were far fewer options open for women then… Olive was never meek; she was dauntless. She took the cards that life dealt out to her – on the whole it was a pretty lousy hand – and played it by the rules and made the very best of it.

Olive left school to run the household for her alcoholic mother – making sure that there was food on the table and that she extracted the housekeeping from her father at the mine gates before it hit the bookie’s hand. And Olive was typical of the indomitable women whose voices come alive in these pages…

In order to keep food on her mother’s table Ivy James scoured the spoil tips of the local colliery for small lumps of coal to sell – this back-breaking task was paid so poorly that Ivy took on night work as a cleaner and chucker out at nearby hotels. Hard physical and demeaning work for anyone, never mind a woman. Others took in laundry, had broods of children only to lose their lives before their children were raised. Each of their stories brings an insight into their struggle for dignity, recognition and wider opportunities.


First published in 1998, with new editions in 2002 and 2009.


"[These accounts] should surely have a wider audience… those fascinated by working class literature, politics and autobiography"
Professor Angela V. John, University of Greenwich

"fascinating, transporting and bound to capture the imagination of anyone with even a passing interest in social history."
Molly James, New Welsh Review

"A marvellous compilation of reminiscences by Welsh women" Time Out

"This is a book to treasure" The Big Issue Cymru

"There are some very sad stories here... However, there are also many happy and amusing memories recounted... I laughed and cried quite often at different points in my reading."
Luci Davin,

ISBN: 9781906784096
Language: English
Categories: Anthology, Autobiography & Memoir, Non-Fiction
First Published by Honno: 1st January 1998

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