Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Colman (A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins) here turns her attention to the forced entry of approximately 6.2 million women into the labor force during WWII. While the text is less than polished, the author does a good job of explaining the events surrounding the war and the economic conditions that temporarily produced a female-dominated work force. Incorporating many first-hand accounts, she evenly explores the resistance, both internal and external, that many women had to overcome in taking on traditionally male jobs. Most interesting is a discussion detailing the highly organized government campaign that sought first to make the notion of women in the workplace seem both acceptable and patriotic, but later, at the end of the war, strove to erase that image as men returned to claim their jobs. Unfortunately, Colman does not take her investigation very far-she fails to measure the effects of this vital period on industry, on politics and, particularly, on the lives of American women. Numerous well-captioned period photographs depict a range of ``Rosie''s (including some women of color), and examples of propaganda posters are especially illuminating. Ages 9-up. A Junior Library Guild Selection. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
With this year's flurry of interest in WW II brought on by a succession of 50th Anniversary celebrations, many will be looking for serious social histories to round out the study of this period. This well-researched, perfectly pitched, and completely involving entry will more than fit the bill. Colman (A Woman Unafraid, 1993) expertly explores the enormous changes in the lives of women in their own homes and beyond. She delineates how the far-reaching power of such agencies as the War Production Board coupled with the intense ``propaganda'' efforts of the Office of War Information (``Women in the War: we can't win without them'') converged with the draft and economic pressures on families just emerging from the Depression to bring women into the workplace. Women braved the challenges of strenuous, often dangerous ``men's work,'' coped with prejudice and sexual harassment, and contributed mightily to the war effort. Children may find echoes of the problems faced by their own working mothers while they read of the valuable roles of their grandmothers. The strengths of this book are in the happy combination of abundant primary source material, a clear narrative style, and effective, well-placed photographs. An important contribution. (statistics, chronology, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9+)
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