Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence

Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence

by Linda Gordon

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In reviewing the history of family violence since the 1870s, Gordon, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin and author of Woman's Body, Woman's Right, studies clients of three Boston child-welfare agencies through the rich detail of case records. Historically, domestic violence has stemmed not only from sexual inequality, the author finds, but also from individual aspirations and a familial power struggle that reflects changing social values, economic pressures and relations between classes, sexes and generations. Gordon notes that caseworkers handle many kinds of child abuse and neglect by both men and women as well as incest and wife beating. Their response is influenced by varying psychological and social interpretations and by dominant political moods. Several reform movements, notably feminism, have increased public awareness of family violence, especially as concerns battered wives. The book concludes, however, that all forms of abuse are still common, particularly the victimizing of children who cannot seek aid on their own. (March)
Library Journal - Library Journal
A timely study of the treatment of child abuse and neglect, incest, and wife beating over time, using case records of private social work agencies to show real people, not just statistics. Seeking to find what constitutes appropriate intervention, Gordon examines various approaches, e.g., the professionalization of social work in the Progressive era, the 1950s' preoccupation with the nuclear family. Gordon's brilliant analysis of the complex social interaction that characterizes efforts to deal with family violence adds a new dimension to the study of social control. Social historians, social workers, and anyone whose work deals with family violence should read this. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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5.10(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.75(d)

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