Heroes of Their Own Lives: 2the Politics and History of Family Violence

Linda Perlman Gordon, Author Viking Books $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-81909-6
In reviewing the history of family violence since the 1870s, Gordon, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin and author of Woman's Body, Woman's Right, studies clients of three Boston child-welfare agencies through the rich detail of case records. Historically, domestic violence has stemmed not only from sexual inequality, the author finds, but also from individual aspirations and a familial power struggle that reflects changing social values, economic pressures and relations between classes, sexes and generations. Gordon notes that caseworkers handle many kinds of child abuse and neglect by both men and women as well as incest and wife beating. Their response is influenced by varying psychological and social interpretations and by dominant political moods. Several reform movements, notably feminism, have increased public awareness of family violence, especially as concerns battered wives. The book concludes, however, that all forms of abuse are still common, particularly the victimizing of children who cannot seek aid on their own. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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