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Berkin, Carol. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence.

BERKIN, Carol. Revolutionary mothers; women in the struggle for America's independence. Random House, Vintage. 194p. notes. index. c2005. 1-4000-7532-7. $13.95. JSA

Ten short chapters cover the following topics: Englishwomen's place in colonial society; women join the protest against English policy; the challenges of a home-front war; women who followed the army; generals' wives and the war; loyalist women in exile; the revolution in the lives of Indian women; African American women and the American revolution; spies, saboteurs, couriers, and other heroines; and the legacy of revolution. Berkin's book will dispel any notion that war is glorious or glamorous, especially for female victims or participants. Some were terrified, raped, pillaged, starved, agonized by the loss of family, and driven to madness. Still, these women lived lives of fortitude in the face of deprivation. Martha Washington, for example, "was not driven to the army by poverty, hunger, or fear. Her only motive was a sense of duty, for as a wife she believed herself bound to accede to her husband's wishes." Black women had no such choices, being bound to their owners in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, or South Carolina. "On the whole, slaves were poorly fed and poorly clothed, and subject to both physical and psychological abuse."

The war only made things worse for everyone. Its aftermath did lead to a debate about the role of women, because "women's participation in the war had given concrete, empirical evidence of their ability to think rationally and make ethical judgments." Notes and an index follow the readable text. Janet Julian, retired English Teacher, Grafton, MA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Julian, Janet
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:322
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