Saturday, May 26, 2012

Women From the Ankle Down

Rachelle Bergstein's "Women From the Ankle Down" traces this quest through the lives of American women over the past 100 years. Ms. Bergstein, a first-time author and self-described shoe obsessive, claims that if you look at the shoes women wore—or aspired to wear—you'll understand who they were. In an effort to prove this, she takes us on a zigzagging tour through well-trodden history.
The start of the 20th century, Ms. Bergstein tells us, was a sad time for both women and their footwear. Most shoes were still stitched by hand, so there were just a few styles, mostly in black, brown and white. Cobblers had only recently started using different patterns for left and right feet. Only the very rich owned more than a few pair. A poor woman could expect to wear the same two shoes all of her adult life.

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