Red Valkyries

Forthcoming with Verso Books in July 2022!

 

Red Valkyries Kristen Ghodsee

Jacket Copy:

The overlooked revolutionary women of Eastern Europe and their contribution to socialist feminist history, from the author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism.

Through a series of lively and accessible biographical essays, Red Valkyries explores the history of socialist feminism by examining the revolutionary careers of five prominent socialist women active in the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Alexandra Kollontai, the aristocratic Bolshevik
  • Nadezhda Krupskaya, the radical pedagogue
  • Inessa Armand, the polyamorous firebrand
  • Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the deadly sniper
  • Elena Lagadinova, the partisan turned scientist turned global women's rights activist

None of these women were “perfect” leftists. 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 fought for social change with important lessons for feminist activists today.  
 
In brief conversational chapters Ghodsee tells the story of the personal challenges faced by earlier generations of socialist and communist women and renders the big ideas of socialist feminism accessible to those newly inspired by the emancipatory politics of left feminist movements around the globe.