War and Sex: A Brief History of Men's Urge for Battle

John V.H. Dippel, Prometheus, $27 (450p) ISBN 9781616141882
Historian Dippel (Race to the Frontier) turns his attention to the sociological motivations behind war in this meticulously researched account of gender roles, social movements, and other factors that have compelled men to fight. Though he doesn't discount patriotism, Dippel examines other factors that caused men to take up arms in the Civil War, both World Wars, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though each conflict had its own set of sociological flashpoints, recurring themes are a desire to prove one's manhood, defend a country's perceived "manliness" after the humiliation of losing a war, and women. Attempting to untie the Gordian knot of gender relations, Dippel reveals how men have fought not for their countries but to win the affections and defend the honor of women. And the role of women in the workplace during and after war greatly complicated matters. Without explicitly blaming feminism for war, Dippel examines the impact of shifting gender roles on masculine impulses. Other contributing factors round out his study, and marriage statistics, birth rates, and plentiful notes and sources both buoy and saddle his argument. Still, his insight and analysis is impressive, and will be of interest to hawks and doves alike. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 466 pages - 978-1-61614-313-8
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