- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprinted edition (May 11, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0449908208
- ISBN-13: 978-0449908204
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape Paperback – May 11, 1993
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“A major work of history, a classic . . . No one who reads it will come away untouched.”—The Village Voice
“The most comprehensive study of rape ever offered to the public . . . It forces readers to take a fresh look at their own attitudes toward this devastating crime.”—Newsweek
“Chilling and monumental . . . Deserves a place next to those rare books which force us to change the way we feel about what we know.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This is a radical book in the truest sense of the word, a book certain to change the way we think, not just about the act of rape, but more fundamentally, about the relationships between men and women. . . . Brilliantly and convincingly argued . . . Against Our Will is thoroughly researched, carefully documented and lucidly written, a work of stunning originality which goes far beyond the statistics of rape to challenge some of society’s most accepted assumptions. . . . A landmark work, one of the most significant books to emerge in this decade.”—Houston Chronicle
“A definitive text, startling, compelling, and a landmark. . . . Brownmiller deserved much credit for being able to avoid radical rhetoric and sticking to excellent reporting in the face of such explosive findings . . . Against Our Will is a monumental work and a thoroughly chilling eye opener. It forced me to rethink my entire position as a woman and, in the process, it made me extremely uncomfortable—as it should.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“An overwhelming indictment. We need it, it is a hideous revelation and it should be required reading.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Chilling, monumental, exhaustive, detailed, absorbing and original. . . . Brownmiller’s greatest contribution is establishing the continuity between rape and other facets of American culture.”—Commonweal
From the Inside Flap
st comrpehensive study of rape ever offered to the public...It forces readers to take a fresh look at their own attitudes toward this devastating crime."
As powerful and timely now as when it was first published, AGAINST OUR WILL stands as a unique document of the history of politics, the sociology of rape and the inherent and ingrained inequality of men and women under the law. In lucid, persuasive prose, Brownmiller has created a definitive, devastating work of lasting social importance.
Chosen by THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW as
One of the Outstanding Books of the Year
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A very long string of chapters is devoted to review of rape in many key historical eras, particularly in war and U.S. slavery. It’s a seemingly endless, painful slog through repetitious detail, with numerous first-hand accounts of victims, each unique yet all nearly identical. The cumulative impact is to prove like nothing else can the consistent patterns of rape as an exercise of domination throughout human history. Chapters reviewing rape in disparate contemporary settings (by police, in prison, U.S. crime statistics) as well as throughout various mythlogies, make the ubiquity of the pattern almost overwhelming.
The long, thoughtful discussion about the intersection of rape and violence against blacks may be controversial for some, but shouldn’t be if read objectively. She makes the point that the male mind-set of women being tools whose bodies are for mens’ use is so entrenched in all of society that some black liberation leaders of her time, like Eldredge Cleaver, fought back against white oppression by vowing to rape as many white women as possible. This has led some to criticize Brownmiller for placing female liberation above black liberation, but this is manifestly unfair. Pointing out that Cleaver and his ilk planned on “practicing” first on black women, she is highlighting that all women suffer from rape’s oppression, and emphasizing that black women get a double whammy. (Cleaver later recanted this strategy.)
The final section discusses her prescriptions for fixing the problem. The best recommendations, changing what are acceptable attitudes for men and police and a fairness overhaul of the legal treatment of rape, are pretty much what have been applied over the intervening decades, though not completely enough; to me this history just underscores the importance of this work. Her cursory recommendation that women bone up on self-defense, on the other hand, sadly seems to have been translated into arming all crime victims with more guns, if heeded at all.