About

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Deborah Cohen was educated at Harvard (BA) and Berkeley (Ph.D.).  She is Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at Northwestern University.  Her specialty is modern European history, with a focus on Britain.

Cohen’s research has been funded by the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the American Council of Learned Societies (Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

She is the author of three books:  The War Come Home (University of California Press, 2001), Household Gods:  The British and their Possessions (Yale, 2006), and Family Secrets, published in 2013 by Viking Penguin in the UK, Canada, Australia, India, and New Zealand and by Oxford University Press in the US. 

Press Reviews

Review in the Observer

Sunday, January 27, 2013
The Observer
Salley Vickers

An "excellent and illuminating book."  It is "in the fastidious detail that her book comes alive."

"Nothing changes more than the notion of what is shocking," wrote the novelist Elizabeth Bowen in 1959, on the eve of two decades of major disruption in the public notion of what should be kept under wraps. Deborah Cohen's excellent and illuminating book explores, in painstaking but never tedious detail, what society from the Victorians onwards kept secret, the relationship between secrecy and shame and the subtle interdependence of the secret and the private.