Starting with Dreiser's Sister Carrie, Meyerowitz uses turn-of-the-century Chicago as a case study to explore both the image and the reality of single women's experiences as they lived apart from their families. In an era when family all but defined American womanhood, these women—neither victimized nor liberated—created new social ties and subcultures to cope with the conditions of urban life.
"Brilliant. . . . Gracefully written, and mercifully free from the jargon that often plagues social history, this book is a welcome addition to literature in women's, urban, and black history."—Ann Schofield, American Historical Review
"Meyerowitz provides a splendid portrait of her subjects. . . . She deserves praise for her demographic spadework, sensitive analysis, and engaging style. This is a valuable and rewarding book."—Nancy Woloch, Journal of American History
"A state-of-the-art product of the new women's history. . . . Meyerowitz's work is an extremely useful contribution, a corrective to over-concentration on women in family, an opening to new ways of looking at single women."—Linda Gordon, Women's Review of Books
"Women Adrift not only brings together many of the most exciting insights of women's history in recent years, but Meyerowitz's particular angle on issues of work, family, sexuality, mass culture and relationships among women also encourages us to rethink these insights."—Ileen A. DeVault, Historian