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Mothers in the fatherland : women, the family, and Nazi politics /

Main Author: Koonz, Claudia.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1987
Edition: 1st ed.
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Review by Choice Review

Koonz's book compiles and culminates her research since the early 1970s, and synthesizes within her feminist framework contributions by coworkers in the field. Her work provides a contrast to Jill Stephenson's still valuable Women in Nazi Society (CH, May '76). Koonz begins with a briefing on the Weimar background, followed by three chapters devoted to Nazi women and their organizations, one to an overview of women in the Third Reich, and others to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and ``resister'' women. Because each chapter is designed to stand alone, there is substantial repetition of the argument that Nazi women gave up public power for private social space, yet connived at opening that space to public control. There is also repeated evidence that dissent, confusion, and competition were as rife in women's work as men's. Based on extensive archival research, interviews, abundant secondary sources, and a comprehension of German, the work nevertheless contains some surprising misstatements of facts. Least surprising is the basic thesis that women became Nazis for the same reasons men did, although that conclusion is contraindicated by the explicit assumption that women are psychologically and emotionally different from men. General and academic readership, upper-division undergraduates and above.-H.D. Andrews, Towson State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

A ground-breaking exploration of the role of women in the Nazi movement and its ideology. (Ap 15 87)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Working from public and private archives, Koonz analyzes in depth the question of women's participation in the Third Reich," reported PW , and "concludes that Nazi women, no less than men, 'destroyed ethical vision, debased human traditions and rendered decent people helpless.' " (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Despite what appears from a modern perspective to be a misogynistic approach to the ``woman's question,'' the Nazi movement managed to appeal to large numbers of German women by exploiting their antipathetical reaction to the vocal women's rights movement and their negative perceptions of the late Weimar era. The Nazis tapped, among women as well as men, deep sentiments of nationalism, anticommunism, and disdain for democracy. Though the Nazis proscribed women from national politics and made careers in the professions difficult, the movement succeeded by ascribing to women their own sphere of traditional domestic and social service activities. Koonz's impressive research and lively writing provide a fascinating account of the leaders, organizations, and contributions of women in the movement. James B. Street, Santa Cruz P.L., Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An original and intriguing account of women in Germany from the collapse of the Weimar Republic through the rise of the Nazi movement. Koonz wants to dispel the idea that women played only small supportive roles in Nazi life and thus were only an ephemeral if not nonexistent element of Nazi ideology. Instead, Koonz portrays German women as great joiners, entering organizations of all kinds and participating fully in Nazi life. Also portrayed, quite movingly, are the women who confronted Nazism and the Jewish women who were among its victims. The book proceeds anecdotally, with stories told, witnesses heard from, organizational records considered, and remembrances plumbed, all to create a picture of a Germany rarely seen. The most provocative claim here is that the Nazi ideological goals extended beyond the elimination of the Jews to include a radical transformation of the family and the relationships between men and women. This sexual ideology, Koonz claims, was one of the internal weaknesses of Nazism, creating resistance among family-oriented Germans. This book, simple and directly written, works best for what it attempts to provide: a comprehensive record of women in Germany during much of the first half of this century. It works considerably less well when Koonz analyzes the material and tries to weave it into the overall Nazi fabric, but even here it merits attention for its originality. Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.