Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In this sweeping study Meyer argues that the history of modern women is best told as parts of the histories of separate nations, and his work makes a well documented case. Throughout Meyer strives to bring what was specific and particular to each country into sharp focus and asserts that national histories are central, but do not constitute straightjackets. Rather, he shows clearly that the national focus helps feminist history fulfill its task of gathering all of women's lives into mainstream history. For Meyer feminist history's subjects are not women, but men and women, and always within the context of a particular culture. This is a fascinating and rich text, though somewhat turgidly written. Still, highly recommended for women's studies collections. Sheila R. Herstein, City Coll. of CUNY Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Meyer (Wesleyan University) has written an encyclopedic study of the impact of economic and political affairs on the lives of women in four nations with vastly different histories: the US, Russia, Sweden, and Italy. The book is divided into four sections. Part 1 concentrates on political changes in Italy, Sweden, and Russia for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although some of this history is esoteric for readers with no previous knowledge of the era, the link between political realities and women's awakening consciousness is fascinating. In Part 2, Meyer delves deeper into the development of feminism and antifeminism in these three European nations, emphasizing the unique problems for each country's organizers. Part 3 considers the case of the US where, according to the author, feminists have had the most success in gaining political and economic power because of the unique separate development of a women's sphere. Part 4 shows how individual authors and artists of these four nations reflect the political growth of feminism and/or the effects of politics and economics on women's lives. Much new information and controversial ideas will tantalize historians and political scientists, but the average reader may find the book heavy reading.-H.H. Alonso, Jersey City State College