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This is not, strictly speaking, a book review of ‘Common Women’ by Ruth Mazzo Carras or of ‘The Cavalry Maiden’ or ‘The Tigress of Forli’ or Ulrich’s superb ‘Midwife’s Tale’ although I truly recommend all four books.
It is more of an essay on writing about women in the midst of war. I’m going to try to keep this as unpolitical and coldly analytical as I can. But I have to say, up front–I’m a feminist, and the story I’m about to tell can be pretty awful. You can stop here, if you like.
War is terrible, and yet many men enjoy it. Certainly, a great many people enjoy reading about it. And I confess that I study it and (sometimes) enjoy writing about it. But to the women of the past–and this cannot be too much emphasized–war was probably the most horrible thing they could imagine, especially when war…
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