Heroes of Their Own Lives

The Politics and History of Family Violence--Boston, 1880-1960
Author: Linda Gordon
A history of America's changing ideas about family violence
Paper – $23
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2002
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About the Book

In this unflinching history of family violence, Linda Gordon traces policies on child abuse and neglect, wife beating, and incest from 1880 to 1960. Gordon begins with the so-called discovery of family violence in the 1870s, when experts first identified it as a social rather than personal problem. From there, Gordon chronicles the changing visibility of family violence as gender, family, and political ideologies shifted and the women’s and civil rights movements gained strength. Throughout, she illustrates how public perceptions of issues like marriage, poverty, alcoholism, mental illness, and responsibility worked for and against the victims of family violence, and looks at the link between family violence and larger social problems.

Powerful and moving, Heroes of Their Own Lives offers an honest understanding of a persistent problem and a realistic view of the difficulties in stopping it.

About the Author

Linda Gordon is Professor Emerita of History at New York University. She is a two-time winner of the Bancroft Prize, for Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits and The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction. Her other books include Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare, 1890-1935 and The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America.

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"Feminist scholarship at its best."--New York Times Book Review