From Eve to Dawn, A History of Women in the World, Volume III: Infernos and Paradises: The Triumph of Capitalism in the 19th Century

Overview

Infernos and Paradises is the third installment in Marilyn French's eminently readable-and revolutionary-four-volume history of women, the fruit of over twenty years of research on women's lives in societies through the ages. Covering a period of particular hope and change for women and the world, this volume focuses on the United States, Britain, and countries in Africa. French illuminates the conflict between intensifying forces of imperialism, industrialization, and capitalism versus intrepid efforts to ...
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From Eve to Dawn, A History of Women in the World: Infernos and Paradises, The Triumph of Capitalism in the 19th Century

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Overview

Infernos and Paradises is the third installment in Marilyn French's eminently readable-and revolutionary-four-volume history of women, the fruit of over twenty years of research on women's lives in societies through the ages. Covering a period of particular hope and change for women and the world, this volume focuses on the United States, Britain, and countries in Africa. French illuminates the conflict between intensifying forces of imperialism, industrialization, and capitalism versus intrepid efforts to organize for more equitable wages, access to education, and the vote. The success of capitalism, French argues, depended upon the exploitation of women; but working among female peers, rather than in the isolation of the home, allowed women to organize on a large scale and ultimately achieve emancipation.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the third volume of her remarkable four-volume survey, French (The Women's Room) illuminates how the industrial revolution worked against women over the course of the 19th century. French begins with imperialism in Africa, documenting the introduction of slavery and industrialization that would decimate traditional African society-including active and powerful positions traditionally held by women, who today are still threatened by the slave trade. In Europe and America, the industrial revolution offered for many family-bound young women a chance at freedom and camaraderie-but only through exploitative, dangerous work in poor conditions and for menial pay. Even then, the patriarchic society worked to keep women and children from any kind of economic or political freedom. At the same time, oppression only drove female workers closer together; with fellow suffering came organization, strength and ultimately a push for labor reform and women's rights. French's well-researched account spans the globe and offers fascinating insight and detail; unfortunately, it loses steam as it progresses, cruising through the labor and women's rights movements in typical textbook fashion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Feminist Press now brings the second half of French's monumental work, originally published in Canada in 2003, to a thankful American audience. Volumes 3 and 4 delve into the economic and political revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Industrialization and the ensuing capitalist, Socialist, Communist, and anti-imperialist movements across the globe all benefit from French's erudite feminist historical treatment. Her coverage is encyclopedic, but her prose is impressively accessible, creating a rare find: a page-turning, can't-put-it-down history text. The book's simple premise is concisely stated in the foreword by Margaret Atwood: "Women, it seems, are not a footnote after all." Yet to bring a gender-inclusive history to fruition required 15 years of comprehensive scholarship, all highly visible in each volume. Biographies of exceptional women, ethnographic studies, anthropological scholarship, and feminist theory bolster French's historical narrative.With women at the center of this history, examination of power is vital; French tackles its core: the political structures, economic forces, and social practices that allow one group of people to dominate another. She highlights the exploitation of female labor in both the public and the private spheres as well as the patriarchal structure of political systems, including those that claim egalitarianism. She notes women's attempts to counter oppressive institutions and practices, e.g., via suffrage movements in Great Britain and the United States and anti-colonialist revolutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. French is always keenly aware of the collision among gender, race, and class, never glossing over women's shiftingposition on the power scale as both oppressed and oppressor. She doesn't shy away from biology either, acknowledging the challenges presented by the female body's unique ability to bear life. This is not a simple repackaging of history for women. French instead gives life to a new way of looking at the world as it exists for women. Her history is sure to inspire the burgeoning feminist in every woman and man. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries and essential for universities with women's studies programs.
—Veronica Arellano

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552783467
  • Publisher: Mcarthur & Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Series: From Eve to Dawn Series , #3
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 2.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn French (1929- ) was born in New York. She received her PhD from Harvard and taught English at Hofstra, Harvard, and Holy Cross College. She is best known for her novels, The Women's Room and In the Name of Friendship, and her non-fiction works, including Beyond Power, The War against Women and her memoir, A Season in Hell.

Margaret Atwood's most popular works include The Handmaid's Tale (1983) and The Blind Assassin (2000). She was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1939 and received her undergraduate degree from Victoria University, along with a master's degree from Radcliffe College. She currently lives in Toronto with her husband, novelist Graeme Gibson.

Marilyn French (1929- ) was born in New York. She received her PhD from Harvard and taught English at Hofstra, Harvard, and Holy Cross College. She is best known for her novels, The Women's Room and In the Name of Friendship, and her non-fiction works, including Beyond Power, The War against Women and her memoir, A Season in Hell.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Margaret Atwood     ix
Introduction     1
Capitalism Triumphant     17
Imperialism in Africa     19
Industrialization     48
Utopianism and Socialism     87
Middle-Class Women in England     128
Middle-Class Women in the United States Before the Civil War     160
The Civil War and Its Aftermath     198
Woman Suffrage in the United States and Great Britain     233
Labor Movements     255
The War Against Women     308
Notes     332
Selected Bibliography     353
Index     367
Map: Map of the World: Peters Projection     364
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