9781839766602
Red Valkyries
The Revolutionary Women of Eastern Europe
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192 pages / July 12, 2022 / 9781839766602

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/ 9781839766633

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Why the most radical feminists were also communists

Red Valkyries explores the history of socialist feminism in Eastern Europe. By examining the revolutionary careers of five prominent socialist women active in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—the aristocratic Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai; the radical pedagogue Nadezhda Krupskaya; the polyamorous firebrand Inessa Armand; the deadly sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko; and the partisan turned scientist turned global women’s activist Elena Lagadinova—Kristen Ghodsee tells the story of the personal challenges faced by earlier generations of socialist and communist women.

None of these women was a ‘perfect’ leftist. Their lives were filled with inner conflicts, contradictions, and sometimes outrageous privilege, but they still managed to move forward their own political projects through perseverance and dedication to their cause. Always walking a fine line between the need for class solidarity and the desire to force their sometimes callous male colleagues to take women’s issues seriously, these five women pursued novel solutions with lessons for the today’s activists.

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9781839766602