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Until recently, the womanless American history was the rm. But in fact, without a history of women we neglect consideration of gender dynamics, sex roles, and family and sexual relations - the very fundamentals of human interaction. In Portraits of American Women, editors G.J. Barker-Benfield and Catherine Clinton present twenty-five short essays on American women beginning with Pocahontas and ending with Betty Friedan. These essays aim to locate the histories of women and men together by period and to provide a sense of their continuities through the whole gallery of the American past. The editors selected women who made significant contributions in the public realm, be they in the areas of art, literature, political engagement, educational activities, or reform movements. Included here are portraits of such women luminaries as Georgia O'Keeffe, Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, to name a few. Clearly women's lives provide a vital perspective through which the great parama of social change in the American past can be understood. Each portrait is fashioned to appeal to a wide range of readers, and all include sound scholarship and accessible prose, and raise provocative issues to illuminate women's lives within a broad range of historical transformations.
G. J. Barker-Benfield is in the Department of History at the State University of New York, Albany. He is the author of The Horrors of the Half-known Life and The Culture of Sensibility. Catherine Clinton is Douglas Southall Freeman Visiting Professor at the University of Richmond. Her publications include Tara Revisited, Divided Houses, and most recently The Devils Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South.