Behind the Lines

Gender and the Two World Wars

Margaret R. Higonnet; Edited by Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel, and Margaret Collins Weitz

View Inside Price: $32.00


September 10, 1989
310 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300044294
Paper

What effect did the two world wars have on the relations between women and men? Drawing on broad comparative material—from government policy to popular media, poetry and fiction, and personal letters—this book examines the redefinition of gender that occurred in many Western countries during both world wars.

“A major addition to the literature on gender relations and war.”—Helena Lewis, Women’s Review of Books

“One of the first, and certainly the most exciting, treatments of war as an event of gender politics.”—Choice

“A substantial contribution to the social history of this century.”—Anne Summers, Times Literary Supplement

“These essays powerfully demonstrate how much the world wars provided battlegrounds not only for nations but for the sexes.”—Michael S. Sherry, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

“A work of lively, engaged scholarship…. This is an important contribution to current debates about war and human identity, war and political reality, war and transformative possibility.”—Jean Bethke Elshtain

"A work of lively, engaged scholarship about deeply serious and undeniably important matters. The authors treat politics, history, philosophy, literature and popular culture in a way that asks new questions and compels us to rethink received truths. This is an important contribution to current debates about war and human identity, war and political reality, war and transformative possibility."—Jean Bethke Elshtain
 
 

 
 

 

 
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 



 

"A very useful addition to the field of women's history and the social history of modern war."—Jane Caplan

"A pathbreaking set of essays that take on the challenging task of exploring the effect of war on traditional gender roles. Separately, the essays offer rigorous models for rewriting women's experience; together they suggest exciting new ways of thinking about the cultural construction of gender."—Alice Kessler Harris

"After reading these essays, the historian of the world wars must reflect anew on what transforming power they had—and did not have. Did women—even as they pushed toward new autonomy—not finally end up buffering male hierarchies from some of the corrosive changes they might otherwise have undergone?  The achievement of these essays is to raise an alternative agenda for the study of war's impact."—Prof. Charles S. Maier 

"A superb collection of 18 essays exploring the reconstitution of gender relations during and after the two world wars."—Library Journal


"It offers innovative analyses of the cultural construction of identity and transforms received truths about war. It also urges the startling conclusion that the 'deconstruction and reconstruction of gender was another battlefront in the two world wars.' The battle hasn't ended yet."—Maureen Corrigan, Village Voice

"The book's 18 essays . . . unmask the complex, vital roles women have played during wartime that have been hidden up to now. As such, it exposes the arbitrariness of gender stereotyping and calls for a rewriting of mainstream history."—Susan E. Davis, New Directions for Women

"Behind The Lines is a major addition to the literature on gender relations and war. An interdisciplinary anthology, it includes literary criticism, social policy, psychology and economics; its topics span two world wars and two continents. Drawing upon the new scholarship in this vast area, the book will interest both the specialist and the general reader."—Helena Lewis, Women's Review of Books

"These essays powerfully demonstrate how much the world wars provided battlegrounds not only for nations but for the sexes."—Michael S. Sherry, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

"A substantial contribution to the social history of this century."—Anne Summers, Times Literary Supplement

 "One of the first, and certainly the most exciting, treatments of war as an event of gender politics."—Choice
 

"A quintessential women's studies book: multidisciplinary and provocative, suggesting the many ways that historians, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, and literary critics are examining various aspects of the two world wars in four countries."—Maurine Weiner Greenwald, Journal of American History

"[A] majorly scholarly achievement. Anyone even slightly interested in women's wartime history must consider it required reading."—Catherine E. Boyd

"[A] fresh interpretation of gender as a factor in modern warfare."—Maurine H. Beasley, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television

"[It is] essential reading for any student of the subject of women and the military system."—Eva Isaksson

"A varied collection, full of exciting examples of the new habits of thought that war does create."—D. Thom, Society for the Study of Labour History Bulletin

"[This book] provides rich histories of women's active involvement in Western war making. . . . The 19 essays in this collection explore the power of war to transform, solidify, and challenge our stereotypical conceptions of masculinity and femininity. . . . The collections presents a rich diversity of feminist voices, theoretical perspectives, and historical accounts that challenge any one-dimensional understanding of the impact of war on gender relations."—Christine L. Williams, Gender and Society

"These 18 essays make an excellent introduction to current feminist thinking on both women's experiences of the two wars, and the wars' influence on gender roles, men's and women's power, and on militarism then and now."—Feminist Bookstore News


"A rich collection of essays about the effect of the two world wars on the relations between men and women."—Keith Brace, The Birmingham Post 
 

"Important new departures in scholarship on women. . . . Behind the Lines provides [an] innovative and rewarding exploration of women's and men's experiences of war and their relationship to institutional structures and ideological systems. . . . By analyzing texts in relation to political structures and actual experiences, the literary essays . . . provide a welcome corrective to essentialist and a historical views of womanhood in a monolithic 'Western culture'. . . . Behind the Lines particularly exemplifies the benefits of a serious commitment to cross-disciplinary feminist scholarship."—Karen Anderson, Signs

"Raise[s] a number of thought-provoking questions about the consequences of war for both women and men which historians should continue to explore."—Judy Barrett Litoff, The Historian
 

"The articles in Behind the Lines challenge mainstream historians to re-think the traditional categories in which war has been studied, researched, analyzed and taught. . . . An important contribution to feminist theory, women's history and gender history."—Nancy E. Rupprecht, European Studies Journal

"These essays make a significant contribution to our understanding of one of the most important theoretical questions facing historians today."—American History Review
 

"This is a stimulating and challenging volume of essays that will be valuable for students of European history and literature as well as women's history."—Pat Jalland, Journal of Modern History

"[This book] is an anthology that could fill in the gap that has left the subject of women and war an understudied area of feminist research."—Kathleen Barry, Journal of Comparative Family Studies
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Sonya Michel

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