Review by Choice Review
In the debate over whether women's history should be broadened to include men, this collection of essays argues persuasively for their inclusion. Only two of the 14 essays have been published previously; essays were written by new and established authors who collectively assert that socially constructed gender roles were often more flexible than historians have recognized. Elizabeth Varon documents the contributions of antebellum Southern women to Whig political campaigns, while Donald Yacovone uncovers Victorian men's sentimental fraternal love. Kevin Murphy examines the homoerotic relationships of male settlement house reformers, while Eric Dwyce Taylor analyzes California men's pro- and antisuffrage rhetoric. Other essayists find gender equality in marriages over three centuries, in Puritan theology, in Colonial immigrants' goals for educating both sons and daughters, and in Victorian novels. Two essays look beyond the white middle class at freed slaves in the antebellum Old Northwest and at Ute fathers on the reservation struggling to create new gender roles. Two essays support more conventional notions of masculine privilege and power. Although the title promises gender equality, only half the essays consider both men and women. The rest are better termed a significant contribution to a more complex history of masculinity. All levels. K. Gedge; West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.