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Women in the Material World Hardcover – August 20, 1996
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A follow-up to coauthor Peter Menzel's lauded Material World: A Global Family Portrait, Women in the Material World once again illuminates the human family--but this time with the focus on women. The result is an arresting collection of photographs, interviews, and anecdotes documenting the day-to-day lives and thoughts of women from 20 different countries. From Albania to India to the United States, we hear the female viewpoint on politics and religion, men and marriage, children and education. Cultural stereotypes are both supported (an Ethiopian mother explains why her daughter must be circumcised) and shattered (the loving equity of an Albanian marriage). The gorgeous accompanying photographs artfully link narrative text with faces and environs, from the rugged peaks of Bhutan to the Mediterranean beaches of Israel. What emerges is a captivating survey of women's lives in the late 20th century, and--even more--a powerful feeling of connectedness with these fellow human beings. --Rebecca Gleason
From Publishers Weekly
The lives of women in 20 diverse countries are spotlighted in this beautiful and moving photo-essay, an offshoot of Menzel's Material World: A Global Family Portrait. In Russia, Zhanna Kapsalova, still recovering from the Christmastime 1993 murder of her husband, shuttles frantically between two teaching jobs. In Ethiopia, Zenebu Tulu, who was kidnapped into marriage by her future husband, explains that having regular, unwanted pregnancies is an unavoidable fact of life, and she resourcefully makes the best of her situation. In Albania, Hanke Cakoni bathes her severely disabled seven-year-old son, then makes lunch before her three other children return from school, while the family's goats wander through the house. "In our country women are treated as one step beneath men," she says, a sentiment often echoed in the interviews with women in China, Italy, India, Japan, the U.S., Jordan, Israel, Mali, South Africa, Mongolia, Thailand, Bhutan, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti and Guatemala. A unique, revealing, multicultural celebration of women's invisible role in societies around the world. (Sept.) FYI: D'Aluisio, a former TV news producer in Houston (now living in California), and Menzel, a photographer for Life and Smithsonian, led a team of female photojournalists and interpreters to compile the interviews and 375 color photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Does anyone know if the hardback version is the same way? Is there another company that sells a better version?
Update: now one star. The cover came off the entire book and not held together by a very cheap tape like adhesive. Unacceptable! See photos. I will be asking for a refund. All of this happened the first time I sat down to read it with coffee. I hate to give this product one star only because the content is worthy. But how can you enjoy it if is slowly dismantling as you read it?
The articles are organized alphabetically, together with short features on marriage, laundry, work, education, childcare, hair, food, water, and friends. At the back of the book, we find statistical charts about women, and a useful statistics glossary. Each article has an extended interview with the mother of the family that reveals parts of her life story as well as her attitudes towards topics such as marriage, child care, education, money, and possessions. The articles are of course filled with numerous color photos, large and small, of the women at work and with other family members.
The Material World itself is a monumental book, but it was hard to go back to it after reading this book, where we find that the details presented in the Material World were so incredibly superficial. For example, family life for Maria dos Anjos Ferrerira in Brazil or Carmen Balderas de Castillo in Mexico isn't nearly as rosy as one might guess from looking at their original smiling photos in the Material World. On the other hand, Zhanna Kapralova from Russia continues to be a survivor. No matter how much you learn from the Material World, it will be far eclipsed by this book with its extended interviews and additional photographs.