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Nanny Knows Best: The History of the British Nanny

343 pages4 hours


From the popular Mary Poppins to the controversial Supernanny, the history of the British Nanny is revealed through fascinating personal storiesNot quite part of the family and definitely an employee; idealized or demonized, the nanny has had a difficult role in family life over the past 200 years. Any discussion of nannies arouses strong emotions in those who have employed them, and a sometimes shocking range of experiences for the nannies themselves. One of the UK's most famous prime ministers rarely saw his mother and was brought up by his nanny, keeping her portrait by his bedside till he died. This book weaves personal stories into the fascinating cultural history of the iconic British nanny. Katherine Holden goes beyond the myths to discover where our tradition of nannies came from and to explore the ways in which it has changed (or not) over the past century. From the Norland Nannies "method" and Mary Poppins' firm but fair approach to the terrifying breach of trust in Bette Davis' The Nanny and the more recent The Hand that Rocks the Cradle to modern-day child-tamer Supernanny, our culture has alternately welcomed and rejected this approach to child-care.

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