Women and Guns: Politics and the Culture of Firearms in America

Overview

This book looks at contemporary American women and their experiences with guns. In a strong narrative that weaves in the stories of many women interviewed by the author - women from everyday walks of life, as well as opinion leaders such as former Texas governor Ann Richards - the book examines varied responses to the national debate about guns and violence that has engaged Americans over the past decade. Scrupulously balanced, this new paperback edition features a new appendix containing a wealth of primary ...
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Overview

This book looks at contemporary American women and their experiences with guns. In a strong narrative that weaves in the stories of many women interviewed by the author - women from everyday walks of life, as well as opinion leaders such as former Texas governor Ann Richards - the book examines varied responses to the national debate about guns and violence that has engaged Americans over the past decade. Scrupulously balanced, this new paperback edition features a new appendix containing a wealth of primary source documents, which help to illuminate both the danger and the allure of guns in our society.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"This book," declares Homsher (From Blood to Verdict: Three Women on Trial), "is about American women in the 1990's, their experiences with guns, and their responses to the national public debates about guns and violence." Through interviews with average citizens, gun and anti-gun activists, and such well-known women as former Texas governor Ann Richards, and Tanya Metaksa, spokesperson for the NRA, the author provides a full picture of guns in women's lives. Anecdotes and discussions cover hunting, target shooting, militias, domestic violence, gun accidents, children and guns, and murder. Homsher touches on the interplay of national and local politics as well as "masculine organizations and their feminine constituents." Many of the wide-ranging viewpoints are interesting and will be unfamiliar. This work complements Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol K. Oyster's Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America (New York Univ. Pr., 2000), which examines the relationship of gun-owning women to their weapons and the politics of women and guns. Homsher's book will be of interest to specialized researchers in women's studies and criminal justice policy. [For another look at this topic, see Encyclopedia of Women and Crime, LJ 11/15/00.--Ed.]--Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A professional nonfiction writer (not a gun-user) offers a wide- ranging, subtle discussion of American women's experiences with guns in the 1990s and the connection between their personal experiences and the polarized national discourse on guns, gun risks, gun control, and gun rights. Her approach is consistently thoughtful and critical, both concerning her own prejudices and of the propaganda and hyperbole ladled out on all sides. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Using the personal anecdotes and stories told by American women from all over the country about their relationships to guns, Homsher demolishes the high walls that divide the polarized anti-gun, pro-gun national debates, revealing a fascinating complexity. She writes, "now and again their own experiences proved to be too complex or contradictory to match the gauge prescribed by agendas that had been forged for political combat. When this happened, when women began telling personal stories...that defied the established categories, I felt that I came closest to watching a citizen at work." In this deftly written and scrupulously researched book readers hear from women whose contact with guns is recreational, accidental, tragic, and empowering. They are women who live on farms, in suburban communities, and congested cities. Some are attendees at anti- or pro-gun rallies, others are victims of spousal abuse, many use guns for hunting and play, and others carry them and own them for self-defense. These aren't the voices heard in national media, and their relationships to guns complicate our notions of the stereotypical pro- or anti-gunner. Homsher grounds her interviews in the context of American pioneering history and the subsequent introduction of guns into the lives of Native Americans, chronicling the less obvious history of how guns figured in the lives of both pioneer and Native women. She then traces the enduring social impact of the romanticized Daniel Boone-type figure in American cultural history and how female gun owners have turned that icon on its head. The result is a book that is both eminently readable and intellectually satisfying. Combining compelling narrative with balancedreporting, Homsher uses her examination of women's varied relationships to guns as a way of defining what it means to be a citizen in the constitutional democracy of our United States, this first year of the new millennium. At a time when crime and violence, both national and international, loom large on TV and film screens, Women and Guns invites one to explore the rich cultural tapestry and complex points of view beneath the deceptive simplicity of our "shoot 'em up" mythology. The ensuing discussions prompted by this exploration can only add to collective wisdom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765606792
  • Publisher: Sharpe, M. E. Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/8/2001
  • Edition description: EXPANDED
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Meeting 3
Ch. 2 American Stories 31
Ch. 3 Fields Near Home 47
Ch. 4 Self-Defense, Part I: Combat by Story and Statistics 79
Ch. 5 Self-Defense, Part II: Looking for the Bad Guys 99
Ch. 6 Gun Games and Homegrown Rebellion 131
Ch. 7 In the Cities, on the Edge 161
Ch. 8 Conclusion 197
Author's Note to Appendix 239
Appendix: Primary Source Documents 241
Index 329
About the Author 339
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