"Good and Mad Women" attempts to map the sociological patterns which have affected the lives of women in Australia over the past century. The author maintains that through the processes of the economy, ideology and social management, an ideal of the good woman was forged. But the ideal has been internally contradictory. "True" femininity is ultimately unattainable. The pathos of this failure for individual women is traced in the case notes of a group of women admitted to a psychiatric hospital between 1930 and 1975. But this is not a book about madness - rather, it is about ordinariness. As the author states, "Its purpose is to uncover the processes of becoming a woman in the 20th century so that, by understanding our historical construction as women, we may expand our possibilities and choose less inhibiting and destructive possibilities".