Women and War

Overview

Jean Elshtain examines how the myths of Man as "Just Warrior" and Woman as "Beautiful Soul" serve to recreate and secure women's social position as noncombatants and men's identity as warriors. Elshtain demonstrates how these myths are undermined by the reality of female bellicosity and sacrificial male love, as well as the moral imperatives of just wars.
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Overview

Jean Elshtain examines how the myths of Man as "Just Warrior" and Woman as "Beautiful Soul" serve to recreate and secure women's social position as noncombatants and men's identity as warriors. Elshtain demonstrates how these myths are undermined by the reality of female bellicosity and sacrificial male love, as well as the moral imperatives of just wars.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Refusing to accept the inevitability of war, Elshtain, a political scientist who teaches a course on war and peace, disputes theorists from the Greeks to Michael Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars, 1977). Using an impressive range of literary, historical, and mythological examples, she examines the rhetoric and iconography of war. She classifies the assigned or adopted roles of women from Minerva to the Greenham Common women, from Spartan mother to warrior to victim. Finally, she proposes a leap of imagination, a search for new alternatives to the war/peace dichotomy. Elshtain does not argue that the world would be better if women ran it; she does insist upon the responsibility of women and men, as citizens, to reflect on history and experience, to find new forms of civic virtue, and not to leave everything to the experts. A challenging book of the first importance which should be in most libraries. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465092161
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Beautiful Souls/Just Warriors: The Seduction of War 3
1 Not-a-Soldier's Story: An Exemplary Tale 14
A Child of the 1950s: Images of War and Martyrdom 15
The Growing Up of a Political Theorist 25
2 The Discourse of War and Politics: From the Greeks to Today 47
Taming Homer's Warrior: Plato and Aristotle 49
The Ideal Republic: Machiavelli and Rousseau 56
The Nation-State 73
The Revolutionary Alternative: Marx and Engels 80
The "Science" of War and Politics: International Relations Becomes an Academic Discipline 86
3 Exemplary Tales of Civic Virtue 92
Women and the Civil War 94
The First World War: "My Nation-State, of Thee I Shout" 106
4 The Attempt to Disarm Civic Virtue 121
The Christian Conundrum: From Pacifists to Reluctant Warriors 123
Just War, Holy War, and the Witness of Peace 128
Female Privatization: The Beautiful Soul 140
Implications of the Just-War Tradition 149
5 Women: The Ferocious Few/The Noncombatant Many 163
The Historic Cleavage 164
Female Group Violence 167
The Ferocious Few 171
The Noncombatant Many 180
6 Men: The Militant Many/The Pacific Few 194
The Militant Many 195
The Pacific Few 202
The Literature of War 211
Structures of Experience: The Good Soldier/The Good Mother 221
7 Neither Warriors nor Victims: Men, Women, and Civic Life 226
The Liberal Conscience 227
Uncertain Trumpet: Feminism's War with War 231
Women as Warriors: "You're in the Army Now" 241
Beyond War and Peace 245
Epilogue 259
Notes 271
Index 291
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