Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America, 1870-1940 / Edition 1

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Overview

The period of prohibition, from 1919 to 1933, marks the fault line between the cultures of Victorian and modern America. In Domesticating Drink, Murdock argues that the debates surrounding alcohol also marked a divide along gender lines. For much of early American history, men generally did the drinking, and women and children were frequently the victims of alcohol-associated violence and abuse. As a result, women stood at the fore of the temperance and prohibition movements and, as Murdock explains, effectively used the fight against drunkenness as a route toward political empowerment and participation. At the same time, respectable women drank at home, in a pattern of moderation at odds with contemporaneous male alcohol abuse.

During the 1920s, with federal prohibition a reality, many women began to assert their hard-won sense of freedom by becoming social drinkers in places other than the home. Murdock's study of how this development took place broadens our understanding of the social and cultural history of alcohol and the various issues that surround it. As alcohol continues to spark debate about behaviors, attitudes, and gender roles, Domesticating Drink provides valuable historical context and important lessons for understanding and responding to the evolving use, and abuse, of drink.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Murdock's contributions to the social history of alcohol are many... Perhaps most significantly, she reveals the crucial role that respectable female drinkers played in both achieving and dismantling the Eighteenth Amendment.

— Madelon Powers

Social History of Alcohol Review
Murdock writes the history of prohibition and repeal, and also of American drinking habits, as women's history. She argues that women's drinking had a positive effect: it domesticated the male use of alcohol.

— Lowell Edmunds

American Studies International
By using the changing perceptions of alcohol and gender as the focus, Murdock deftly illustrates the social and political events that impacted American culture.

— Allison M. Lampton

American Historical Review - Madelon Powers

Murdock's contributions to the social history of alcohol are many... Perhaps most significantly, she reveals the crucial role that respectable female drinkers played in both achieving and dismantling the Eighteenth Amendment.

Social History of Alcohol Review - Lowell Edmunds

Murdock writes the history of prohibition and repeal, and also of American drinking habits, as women's history. She argues that women's drinking had a positive effect: it domesticated the male use of alcohol.

American Studies International - Allison M. Lampton

By using the changing perceptions of alcohol and gender as the focus, Murdock deftly illustrates the social and political events that impacted American culture.

Madelon Powers
Murdock's contributions to the social history of alcohol are many . . . perhaps most significantly, she reveals the crucial role that respectable female drinkers played in both achieving and dismantling the Eighteenth Amendment.
American Historical Review
Booknews
Finding the fierce debate over alcohol to be as much a gender as a political issue, Murdock (cities program, Bryn Mawr College) traces the views and actions of women throughout the period. She describes how men used to drink and women and children suffered, how women led the temperance and prohibition movements but also the repeal movement, and how the admission of women into saloons and alcohol into the house has subjected drinking and the behavior associated with it to women's values. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
Phyllis Eckhaus
Murdock's rich and nuanced account of the Victorian suspicion of alcohol suggests parallels to modern attitudes toward drugs, guns, smoking, prostitution and pornography—all of which demand that individual freedoms be weighed against perceived threats to public health and safety...Murdock's analysis indicates how our prohibitions ceaselessly shift, morphing to mirror modern fears. As instruments of social control, prohibitions are already more than dispassionate policy decisions.

For Murdock, However, there is a different "lesson to be learned" from Prohibition: that "political and moral extremists ignore ar their peril moderate supporters." Too bad, she suggests that WCTU members couldn't relax a little and go with the flow. Yet it was their unyeilding absolutism that made "dry" women such a force for change...
—The Women's Review of Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801868702
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Gender Relations in the American Experience
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 262
  • Sales rank: 509,863
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Gilbert Murdock is a lecturer in the Growth and Structure of Cities Program at Bryn Mawr College.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:



List of Illustrations

List of Acronyms

Acknowledgments

Introduction



1 Gender, Prohibition, Suffrage, and Power

2 Domestic Drink in Victorian America

3 Startling Changes in the Public Realm

4 Prohibition, Cocktails, Law Observance, and the American Home

5 Prohibition and Woman's Public Sphere in the 1920s

6 The Moral Authority of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform

7 The Domestication of Drink



Epilogue

Notes

Essay on Sources

Index

Johns Hopkins University Press

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