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Winner of the Joan Kelly Prize for the best work on women's history
Gerda Lerner is Robinson-Edwards Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of eight other books.
Using admittedly sparse prehistorical evidence, Lerner offers a plausible multicausal theory to explain the development of the patriarchical system. She seeks to show that the subordination of women is a historical (i.e., changeable) phenomenon, not a natural one. Lerner posits that division of labor by sex occurred early but that the oppression of women began with the emergence of agriculture; the domination of women, she argues, preceded and served as the foundation for the origin of private property and the state and the institutionalization of slavery. More narrowly focused and more successful than Marilyn French's Beyond Power ( LJ 6/1/85), Lerner's book will appeal to a sophisticated general reader. For large public libraries. Cynthia Harrison, American Historical Assn., Washington, D.C.
`A valuable contribution to history and women's studies.' Booklist