Book of the Year -- Times Literary Supplement

Nov 27 2013
The Times Literary Supplement
Frances Wilson

"Rigorous and relevant."

Starting with the premiss that a private life and a secret life no longer mean the same thing, Deborah Cohen's rigorous and relevant Family Secrets:  Living with shame from the Victorians to the present day (Viking) explores the shameful history of how we have covered up our shameful histories.  She brings together the families who harboured secrets, the individuals -- illegitimate, mentally handicapped, mixed-race -- who were secrets, and the current rage for uncovering the secrets of our ancestors (one in six people who have explored their heritage on internet sites have apparently discovered something that a previous generation sought to hide).