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Women and War, with a new epilogue Paperback – July 15, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0226206264 ISBN-10: 0226206262 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1st edition (July 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226206262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226206264
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Refusing to accept the inevitability of war, Elshtain, a political scientist who teaches a course on war and peace, disputes theorists from the Greeks to Michael Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars, 1977). Using an impressive range of literary, historical, and mythological examples, she examines the rhetoric and iconography of war. She classifies the assigned or adopted roles of women from Minerva to the Greenham Common women, from Spartan mother to warrior to victim. Finally, she proposes a leap of imagination, a search for new alternatives to the war/peace dichotomy. Elshtain does not argue that the world would be better if women ran it; she does insist upon the responsibility of women and men, as citizens, to reflect on history and experience, to find new forms of civic virtue, and not to leave everything to the experts. A challenging book of the first importance which should be in most libraries. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Falk on January 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
From the Homeric warrior to Rambo, from the Spartan mother to the Greenham Common Women, Western paradigms of war have shaped public action and forged male and female identity. In the
beginning, politics was war, and war has always been a quintessentially male activity. War, in fact, has always created the greatest gender gap, with deeply rooted myths of Man as just Warrior and
Woman as Beautiful Soul serving to re-create and secure women's social position as noncombatants and men's identity as warriors.
In this brilliant, startlingly original inquiry, a distinguished political philosopher and feminist demonstrates that the old myths-flattering to both men and women-will not do. They are defied by the reality of female bellicosity and sacrificial male love, and undermined by ambiguous issues-from the role of women in combat, to the moral imperatives of just wars. Finding inadequate the very forms of war discourse, Elshtain shakes us loose from both the institutional language of international-relations and conventional military narrative to open her book to the culture of war as she and
her family experienced it in Colorado during and after the Second World War, thus creating a new genre of the woman's war story. Incorporating a vast range of materials, from history to cultural
anthropology, popular culture, and feminist theory, she then critiques standard political theory from Aristotle to the present and shows how that theory itself constructs a life of collective conflict. By attacking the roots of war in the myths of war, Elshtain lays open the promise of a radical reconstruction of our political order.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Q on October 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
The reviewer below summed up Jean Bethke Elshtain's book concisely, so I will refrain from the repetition. My only comment here is to say that Elshtain's curious omission of the issue of imperialism and colonialism, as well as the issue of race and class (though she does sometimes cursorily include this latter category: class), ultimately detracts from her otherwise clear-sighted and compelling argument. Although Elshtain does openly limit her study to Western texts, political and otherwise, insofar as imperialism and colonialism are integral parts of Western history and self-definition, the omission is critical and not only surfaces glaringly, but also limits her critical models and potentials. As for her treatment of race and class (or lack there of), this too is critical and ultimately undermines her otherwise compelling conclusion (basically, it renders her blind to her own elitism and assumptions; to become the "Chastened Patriot" she wants everyone to become requires certain privileges).

Of course, no one can take everything into account, but the insularity of her study is unfortunate precisely because this is such an important work, especially now, with our so-called perpetual war on terror in full swing. While I do not agree with her conclusions about the possibilities of just-wars and the ideal of what Elshtain calls the "Chastened Patriot," capable of assessing and waging such just-wars, this is an excellent and accessible introduction for any reader who is interested thinking about the politics of war and peace, and their own positions in relation to it.
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