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From the PublisherThere is a lot of fascinating historical information in Her Best Shot, but its most attractive feature is the well-written narrative.
—Women & Guns
The gun-toting woman holds enormous symbolic significance in American culture. For over two centuries, women who pick up guns have interrupted the popular association of guns and masculinity, spurring debates about women's capabilities for violence as well as their capacity for full citizenship. In Her Best Shot, Laura Browder examines the relationship between women and guns and the ways in which the figure of the armed woman has served as a lightning rod for cultural issues from the American Revolution to the present.
Utilizing autobiographies, advertising, journalism, novels, and political tracts, among other sources, Browder traces appearances of the armed woman across an ideological spectrum ranging from the Black Panthers to militant right-wing militias. Among the colorful characters presented here are Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Revolution; Pauline Cushman, who posed as a Confederate to spy for Union forces during the Civil War; Wild West sure-shot Annie Oakley; African explorer Osa Johnson; 1930s gangsters Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker; and Patty Hearst, the hostage-turned-revolutionary-turned-victim. With her entertaining and provocative analysis, Browder demonstrates that armed women both challenge and reinforce the easy equation that links guns, manhood, and American identity.
|Introduction : The news about women and guns||1|
|1||Military heroines : narratives of female soldiers and spies in the Civil War||22|
|2||Little miss sure shot and friends, or how armed women tamed the West||57|
|3||Maid Marians and bad mothers : from the gungirls of the 1920s to the gangsters of the 1930s||100|
|4||Radical women of the 1960s and 1970s||136|
|5||Armed women of the far right : race mothers, warriors, and the surprising case of Carolyn Chute||186|
|6||Armed Feminism or family values? : women and guns today||212|