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Published: 26 February 1998

272 Pages

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195122893

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (01)

Why History Matters

Life and Thought

Gerda Lerner

In Why History Matters, Gerda Lerner sums up her thinking and research of the last sixteen years, combining personal reminiscences with innovative theory that illuminate the importance of history and the vital role women have played in it. The chapters are divided into three sections, each in different ways revelatory of Lerner as a woman and a feminist.
We read first of Lerner's coming to consciousness as a Jewish woman, of her experiences in Nazi Germany, as well as her decision to become a historian. The second section focuses on more professional concerns. Included here is a fascinating essay on nonviolent resistance, tracing the idea from the Quakers, such as Mary Dyer, to abolitionists, to Thoreau's essay Civil Disobedience, then across the sea to Tolstoy and Gandhi, before finally returning to America during the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The highlight of the final section of the book is Lerner's bold and innovative look at the issues of class and race as they relate to gender.
A major figure in women's studies and long-term activist for women's issues, a founding member of NOW and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is a pioneer in the field of Women's History and one of its leading practitioners. Why History Matters contains some of the most significant thinking on history of this distinguished historian.