The women who kept the farms going while the soldiers were Over There


 
   

Fruits of Victory

The Woman's Land Army of America in the Great War

 
352 pages; 6" x 9" ; 54 B&W Photos

HARDCOVER
$29.95   $23.96
Available: December 2008
978-1-59797-273-4


Description:

From 1917 to 1920 the Woman’s Land Army (WLA) brought thousands of city workers, society women, artists, business professionals, and college students into rural America to take over the farm work after men were called to wartime service. These women wore military-style uniforms, lived in communal camps, and did what was considered “men's work”—that is, plowing fields, driving tractors, planting, harvesting, and hauling lumber. The Land Army insisted its “farmerettes” be paid wages equal to male farm laborers and be protected by an eight-hour workday. These farmerettes were shocking at first and encountered skeptical farmers’ scorn, but as they proved themselves willing and capable, farmers began to rely upon the women workers and became their loudest champions.

While the Woman’s Land Army was deeply rooted in the great political and social movements of its day—suffrage, urban and rural reform, women’s education, scientific management, and labor rights—it pushed into new, uncharted territory and ventured into areas considered off-limits. More than any other women’s war work group of the time, the Land Army took pleasure in breaking the rules. It challenged conventional thinking on what was “proper” work for women to do, their role in wartime, how they should be paid, and how they should dress.

The WLA’s short but spirited life also foreshadowed some of the most profound and contentious social issues America would face in the twentieth century: women’s changing role in society and the workplace, the problem of social class distinctions in a democracy, the mechanization and urbanization of society, the role of science and technology, and the physiological and psychological differences between men and women.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)

Elaine F. Weiss is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and on National Public Radio. She is a frequent correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviews/Endorsements:

"The most extensively researched and far-reaching examination of the Land Army to date. . . . A wealth of material that scholars and teachers of U.S. women's history, American agricultural history, and the American experience in World War I will want to have at their fingertips."
American Historical Review, October 2009

“Weiss effectively chronicles the birth of the WLA movement and the dedicated women behind it. Recommended for both scholarly readers and interested history buffs."
Library Journal, April 1, 2009

“Weiss’s excellent work of cross-disciplinary scholarship offers readers a unique look at how WWI changed society."
Booklist, March 2009

"Bravo to Elaine Weiss! She has rescued a fascinating chapter of our history from undeserved obscurity and tells the story of the Woman's Land Army of World War I with undeniable verve."
Deborah Dash Moore, author of GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation

“Elaine Weiss has written an important book on an overlooked subject. Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War covers the virtually unknown story of the “farmettes” who joined American’s land army to feed the nation during World War I. This engaging account makes not only good reading, but also contributes to our understanding of both women’s history and the home front during the war.”
Jean Baker, Bennett-Harwood professor of history, Goucher College

“Weiss plows through a wide variety of primary sources and produces a bumper crop of determined women, stubborn men, telling anecdotes, and rich details, all part of a surprising and surprisingly moving story of mobilization and organization, patriotism and sexism. The army of “farmerettes,” drawn from the classrooms of the “Seven Sisters” and urban factories, who came together as “soldiers of the soil” to harvest everything from cherries in Michigan to cotton in Georgia and the women who recruited, trained, and championed them leave an indelible imprint in this well-told tale of the remarkable effort of American women to feed a nation at war.”
Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

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