Lines of Fire

Higonnet, Margaret Randolph

ISBN 10: 0452281466 / 0-452-28146-6
ISBN 13: 9780452281462
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
"What men suffer through war is written in histories . . . but what women suffer is never written." --Cora Harris, journalist, The Saturday Evening Post

Most books written about World War I generally focus on combat and the experiences of men. Lines of Fire challenges the restrictions of official history and traditional ideas of "war literature," bringing together a rich and astonishing array of women's journalism, political treatises, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, as well as illustrations, and fiction, and poetry written in response to WWI. Lines of Fire is also truly ground breaking in that it is an international anthology, including contributions not only from Great Britain and the United States, but also from France, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Belgium, India, Italy, Turkey, Africa, and the Middle East.

In war, the voices of women often go unheard. When they are heard, they tend to be stereotypical, affectedly feminine: women as survivors, mourners, and sufferers. Literary scholar Margaret R. Higonnet decries this short-shrifting of women's contributions to war history, challenging the assumption that because women are excluded from combat (and even that assumption turns out to be false), their stories are necessarily secondary, inauthentic, or otherwise not "real."

World War I, in particular, proved significant for women because, as Higonnet points out, "many women ... contributed to the war effort in the expectation that they would gain the right to vote when the war was over." Their efforts were validated; with suffrage later passing in many combatant countries, the war changed the role of women for good. In Lines of Fire, Higonnet has gathered an overwhelming collection of works written by women in the midst of that conflict, works both political and poetic, from fiction to journalism to verse. Well over 100 distinct voices have been assembled, cited, and translated, representing an enormous spectrum of perspectives: a Hungarian countess recalls inspecting Russian POW camps for the Red Cross; an Italian field nurse recounts a grisly amputation; a French novelist describes prisoner prostitutes being mechanically called from their "dorm" by German soldiers ("Charlotte Z..., three chocolate bars ... Louise G..., one mark and a bar.").

The contributors to Lines of Fire include some of the century's best-known women writers--Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anna Akhmatova--and personalities such as Mata Hari and Jeanette Rankin (America's first female U.S. representative). As a scholarly anthology, Higonnet's work is weighty and worthy, but the quality that may recommend it most is its sheer accessibility. Its nearly 700 pages will pass quickly with a snippet read here and another there--short, memorable trips into the lives of remarkable women living in a remarkable time. --Paul Hughes



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Lines of Fire (ISBN: 0452281466 / 0-452-28146-6)
Higonnet, Margaret Randolph
ISBN 10: 0452281466
ISBN 13: 9780452281462
Bookseller: ExtremelyReliable (Richmond, TX, U.S.A.)
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Book Description: Plume. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Buy with confidence. Excellent Customer Service & Return policy. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0452281466

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