Women Warriors: A History

In This Review

Women Warriors: A History

By David E. Jones
Brassey's, 1997
279 pp. $24.95
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The author, an anthropologist and martial arts instructor, wishes to establish that women make just as fine killers as do men. He does so by assembling hundreds of stories of women proficient in slaughter, or at least avid for it. Collections of stories do not, however, a theory make. The inescapable fact remains that in the vast majority of societies women have not participated and do not routinely participate in combat, save in the last resort. The numerous exceptions cited here, while interesting (and on occasion horrifying) do not prove a rule. The author tends to dismiss or ignore evidence contrary to his core proposition -- the Israel Defense Forces, for example, which has drafted women since its inception, merits only one paragraph in this work. That the Israelis have excluded women from combat since 1949 is tersely noted in one spare sentence and not discussed. Such unwillingness to look at inconvenient facts vitiates any usefulness the work might otherwise possess.