"Mary Nash is a major expert on the subject of Spanish women and the Spanish civil war, and she has dedicated over twenty years to unearthing data on the topic. This book is the culmination of those many years of research, and Nash's goal of examining the 'dynamics of gender power relations' is carried out with skill and rigor....This meticulously edited text is short of miraculous, given the fact that so many historical sources were destroyed or hidden away after the war. It is only since General Francisco Franco's death in 1975 that information on women in the war has surfaced. Nash has been instrumental in changing the phantom role of women activists from the Spanish civil war through her painstaking and tireless research, and by publishing this book, she has performed an invaluable historical service." -- American Historical Review, April 1998
"This is a timely and insightful account." -- American Anthropologist, March 1997
From the Inside Flap
Defying Male Civilization
examines women's role and experiences in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It addresses the significant contributions made by anonymous women at the homefront as well as the heroic accomplishments of female political leaders and women who fought at the war fronts.
When the war erupted, women's lives were dramatically transformed. Amid the harsh conditions of war, women organized themselves on a vast scale to fight against fascism, published antifascist journals and newspapers, took up arms, and provided services to help others survive.
For many women, being actively involved in such a struggle was a liberating experience after having been isolated from political and public life. As they gained confidence in their own capabilities, these women began questioning their traditional role in society and the restrictions that had been imposed on them because of their gender.
Based on Dr. Nash's extensive research and her interviews with women activists from the Spanish Civil War, Defying Male Civilization assesses the significance of women's involvement in the antifascist struggle against Franco. It introduces readers to the complex reality of war and revolution from a gender perspective, focusing not only on women's heroic achievements but on the limitations of change.
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