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Her best shot : women and guns in America /
Laura Browder.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2006.
description
xii, 287 p. : ill.
ISBN
080783050X (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807830505 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2006.
isbn
080783050X (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807830505 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5995554
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Browder examines the relationship between women and guns in America and the ways in which the figure of the armed woman has served as a lightning rod for cultural issues. She traces appearances of the armed woman across a chronological spectrum from the American Revolution to the present and an ideological spectrum ranging from the Black Panthers to right-wing militias. In an entertaining and provocative analysis, she looks at women including Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Revolution; Pauline Cushman, who posed as a Confederate to spy for Union forces during the Civil War; Wild West sure-shot Annie Oakley; African explorer Osa Johnson; 1930s gangsters Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker; and Patty Hearst, the hostage-turned-revolutionary-turned-victim.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2006-07-10:
The "thriving gun culture" of the South took Browder by surprise when the New Englander moved to Virginia. Now Browder (Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America), an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, explores the social meanings of armed womanhood in a culture where violence is associated with masculinity. Browder traces the phenomenon from Civil War cross-dressing spies to the present-day National Rifle Association's female-oriented marketing strategies, demonstrating how public discussions of gun-toting women find each successive era revealing its particular anxieties about women's sexuality and role as citizens. Browder discusses a series of " armed celebrities"-from Wild West stars like Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane to outlaws such as Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) and Patty Hearst-and examines the contradictory views about women soldiers, the gun-slinging pioneer mother "lioness" protecting her family, women at the turn of the 20th century who wielded their weapons to uphold white rights and the women radical activists, both black and white, of the 1960s and 1970s who "used the gun as a bid for equal power within their often sexist movements." Browder packs her dense yet jargon-free study with salient examples drawn from contemporary print and visual sources. 34 illus. (Oct. 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2007-08-01:
Browder (English, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) presents guns as cultural icons of femininity and feminism in the US media from the Civil War to the present. While focusing on gender, as the title promises, she does not neglect the intertwined issues of race and class. The work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched. The chapter on the Civil War drags a bit, perhaps betraying the author's lack of training in history and historiography. Chapter 5 lingers far too long on Carolyn Chute's contradictory life. These weaknesses are easily offset by an engaging introduction, with its startling examples of young girls as images in early gun advertisements. Chapter 6, the final chapter, is also an excellent discussion of the National Rifle Association's two magazines published for a female audience. The delicate relationship that both magazines have displayed between women and guns encapsulates the precarious balancing act between women and guns in the popular media. A good read for general audiences, this would be useful for college libraries supporting US history surveys as well as topical courses such as women and the media. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. S. D. Reschly Truman State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An enjoyable book. A well-written, thought-provoking history of images of women with guns. . . . A fascinating tour through American history." _ Winterthur Portfolio
"An enjoyable book. A well-written, thought-provoking history of images of women with guns. . . . A fascinating tour through American history." -- Winterthur Portfolio
"An enjoyable book. A well-written, thought-provoking history of images of women with guns. . . . A fascinating tour through American history." --Winterthur Portfolio
"A rich story." _ Journal of Social History
"A rich story." -- Journal of Social History
"A rich story." --Journal of Social History
'œBrowder's book is far-ranging. It is filled with provocative observations on class dynamics and on the biological essentialism that is--and long has been--used to define women with guns.' --The Journal of Southern History
"Browder's book is far-ranging. It is filled with provocative observations on class dynamics and on the biological essentialism that is--and long has been--used to define women with guns." _ The Journal of Southern History
"Browder's book is far-ranging. It is filled with provocative observations on class dynamics and on the biological essentialism that is--and long has been--used to define women with guns." -- The Journal of Southern History
"Browder's book is far-ranging. It is filled with provocative observations on class dynamics and on the biological essentialism that is--and long has been--used to define women with guns." --The Journal of Southern History
Browder’s book is far-ranging. It is filled with provocative observations on class dynamics and on the biological essentialism that is--and long has been--used to define women with guns.” --The Journal of Southern History
Browder's study makes clear that the portrayal of a woman with a gun has many shades of meaning bound up with race and class as well as gender. -"Roanoke Times"
Browder's study makes clear that the portrayal of a woman with a gun has many shades of meaning bound up with race and class as well as gender. _ Roanoke Times
Browder's study makes clear that the portrayal of a woman with a gun has many shades of meaning bound up with race and class as well as gender. - Roanoke Times
Browder's study makes clear that the portrayal of a woman with a gun has many shades of meaning bound up with race and class as well as gender. -Roanoke Times
"Deftly analyzes the figure of the armed woman as both cultural hero and villain." _ American Historical Review
"Deftly analyzes the figure of the armed woman as both cultural hero and villain." -- American Historical Review
"Deftly analyzes the figure of the armed woman as both cultural hero and villain." --American Historical Review
'œDeftly explores one facet of the relationship between women and guns in American history: that most manifest in literary expression and advertising.' --Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Deftly explores one facet of the relationship between women and guns in American history: that most manifest in literary expression and advertising." _ Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Deftly explores one facet of the relationship between women and guns in American history: that most manifest in literary expression and advertising." -- Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Deftly explores one facet of the relationship between women and guns in American history: that most manifest in literary expression and advertising." --Pacific Northwest Quarterly
Deftly explores one facet of the relationship between women and guns in American history: that most manifest in literary expression and advertising.” --Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Fascinating. . . . Lucidly written and clearly argued. . . . Illuminat[es] a culture of violence through the study of popular culture, media representations, and political spectacle." _ Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"Fascinating. . . . Lucidly written and clearly argued. . . . Illuminat[es] a culture of violence through the study of popular culture, media representations, and political spectacle." -- Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"Fascinating. . . . Lucidly written and clearly argued. . . . Illuminat[es] a culture of violence through the study of popular culture, media representations, and political spectacle." --Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"Filled with fascinating history that has largely been lost or ignored--until now." _ Field and Stream
"Filled with fascinating history that has largely been lost or ignored--until now." -- Field and Stream
"Filled with fascinating history that has largely been lost or ignored--until now." --Field and Stream
"Filled with fascinating history that has largely been lost or ignored'”until now.' --Field and Stream
"Filled with fascinating history that has largely been lost or ignored—until now.” --Field and Stream
"Provides fascinating insights into a feminized gun culture perhaps little known to academic readers. . . . An impressive account of women and guns in America." _ Journal of American History
"Provides fascinating insights into a feminized gun culture perhaps little known to academic readers. . . . An impressive account of women and guns in America." -- Journal of American History
"Provides fascinating insights into a feminized gun culture perhaps little known to academic readers. . . . An impressive account of women and guns in America." --Journal of American History
'œThe work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched.' --CHOICE
"The work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched." _ CHOICE
"The work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched." -- CHOICE
"The work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched." --CHOICE
The work is appealingly written, satisfyingly illustrated, and well researched.” --CHOICE
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, July 2006
Choice, August 2007
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The gun-toting woman holds enormous symbolic significance in American culture. For over two centuries, women who pick up guns have interrupted the popular association of guns and masculinity, spurring debates about women's capabilities for violence as well as their capacity for full citizenship. In Her Best Shot, Laura Browder examines the relationship between women and guns and the ways in which the figure of the armed woman has served as a lightning rod for cultural issues from the American Revolution to the present.Utilizing autobiographies, advertising, journalism, novels, and political tracts, among other sources, Browder traces appearances of the armed woman across an ideological spectrum ranging from the Black Panthers to militant right-wing militias. Among the colorful characters presented here are Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Revolution; Pauline Cushman, who posed as a Confederate to spy for Union forces during the Civil War; Wild West sure-shot Annie Oakley; African explorer Osa Johnson; 1930s gangsters Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker; and Patty Hearst, the hostage-turned-revolutionary-turned-victim. With her entertaining and provocative analysis, Browder demonstrates that armed women both challenge and reinforce the easy equation that links guns, manhood, and American identity.
Main Description
The gun-toting woman holds enormous symbolic significance in American culture. For over two centuries, women who pick up guns have interrupted the popular association of guns and masculinity, spurring debates about women's capabilities for violence as well as their capacity for full citizenship. In Her Best Shot , Laura Browder examines the relationship between women and guns and the ways in which the figure of the armed woman has served as a lightning rod for cultural issues from the American Revolution to the present. Utilizing autobiographies, advertising, journalism, novels, and political tracts, among other sources, Browder traces appearances of the armed woman across an ideological spectrum ranging from the Black Panthers to militant right-wing militias. Among the colorful characters presented here are Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Revolution; Pauline Cushman, who posed as a Confederate to spy for Union forces during the Civil War; Wild West sure-shot Annie Oakley; African explorer Osa Johnson; 1930s gangsters Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker; and Patty Hearst, the hostage-turned-revolutionary-turned-victim. With her entertaining and provocative analysis, Browder demonstrates that armed women both challenge and reinforce the easy equation that links guns, manhood, and American identity.
Table of Contents
Introduction : The news about women and gunsp. 1
Military heroines : narratives of female soldiers and spies in the Civil Warp. 22
Little miss sure shot and friends, or how armed women tamed the Westp. 57
Maid Marians and bad mothers : from the gungirls of the 1920s to the gangsters of the 1930sp. 100
Radical women of the 1960s and 1970sp. 136
Armed women of the far right : race mothers, warriors, and the surprising case of Carolyn Chutep. 186
Armed Feminism or family values? : women and guns todayp. 212
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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