Shoot the Women First

Eileen MacDonald, Author Random House (NY) $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-41596-1
The author, a British journalist who admits to being fascinated by ``women committed to violence,'' set out to discover whether the female of the species really is deadlier than the male. MacDonald interviewed members of the Basque separatist movement, the Italian Red Brigades, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Irish Republican Army and the German Red Army Faction. She appears awed by her subjects and tends to lightly pass over the criminality of their revolutionary acts, preferring to dwell on their supposed glamour. The only interviewee who comes into clear focus, ironically, is robot-like Kim Hyon Hui, a North Korean government agent who is wholly submissive to male authority (under orders from Pyongyang, she blew up 115 airline passengers in 1985). MacDonald discusses the common notion that most female terrorists are unattractive lesbians and/or feminists gone mad. Here, as elsewhere, she fails to draw any conclusions, or even generalities, from her material. She is very definite, however, in her belief that women revolutionaries have ``much stronger characters, more power, more energy'' and are ``far more pragmatic'' than their male counterparts. Thought-provoking and controversial, but disappointingly inconclusive. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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