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Women and War

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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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Introduction: Beautiful Souls/Just Warriors: The Seduction of War 1: Not-a-Soldier's Story: An Exemplary Tale A Child of the 1950s: Images of War and Martyrdom The Growing Up of a Political Theorist 2: The Discourse of War and Politics: From the Greeks to Today Taming Homer's Warrior: Plato and Aristotle The Ideal Republic: Machiavelli and Rousseau The Nation-State The Revolutionary Alternative: Marx and Engels The "Science" of War and Politics: International Relations Becomes an Academic Discipline 3: Exemplary Tales of Civic Virtue Women and the Civil War The First World War: "My Nation-State, of Thee I Shout" 4: The Attempt to Disarm Civic Virtue The Christian Conundrum: From Pacifists to Reluctant Warriors Just War, Holy War, and the Witness of Peace Female Privatization: The Beautiful Soul Implications of the Just-War Tradition 5: Women: The Ferocious Few/The Noncombatant Many The Historic Cleavage Female Group Violence The Ferocious Few The Noncombatant Many 6: Men: The Militant Many/The Pacific Few The Militant Many The Pacific Few The Literature of War Structures of Experience: The Good Soldier/The Good Mother 7: Neither Warriors nor Victims: Men, Women, and Civic Life The Liberal Conscience Uncertain Trumpet: Feminism's War with War Women as Warriors: "You're in the Army Now" Beyond War and Peace Epilogue Notes Index


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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