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Palgrave Macmillan

Soviet Women on the Frontline in the Second World War

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  • © 2012


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Table of contents (10 chapters)


About this book

This is the first comprehensive study in English of Soviet women who fought against the genocidal, misogynist, Nazi enemy on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. Drawing on a vast array of original archival, memoir, and published sources, this book captures the everyday experiences of Soviet women fighting, living and dying on the front.


“The title under review, while being the latest contribution to the field, deserves to be recognized as the starting place for all readers interested in the topic. This book offers both breadth and depth to the study of what Soviet women did as soldiers, sailors, airmen, and partisans, and why they did it. … The authors used a variety of archives, memoir material, interviews, and secondary materials to make a solid evidentiary case for their observations and conclusions.” (Roger R. Reese, The Russian Review, Vol. 47 (3), July, 2015)

"This truly impressive book is an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of women and war and of Soviet social history in wartime...the closest thing yet to a single-volume overview of Soviet military women during World War II. The research outstanding...deftly combin[ing] published and archival materials...[A] model of readable and fascinating scholarship." - Reine Pennington, Slavic Review

"The strengths of this worklie not only in the comprehensive approach but also in the detailed descriptions of women who participated...This is the most thorough examination of women on the frontlines during the Great Patriotic War, and thus is a valuable contribution to scholarship on the topic." - Laurie Stoff, American Historical Review

"The book offers a nuanced analysis of the state efforts to provide for the younger generations. This book is recommended to anyone who wishes to understand the impact of war on Soviet society and to make sense of the relationship that developed between the regime and its female citizens." - Olga Kucherenko, Australian Journal of Politics and History

"This excellent book tells the story of the participation of these women in a genocidal and misogynist war of unprecedented scale and violence. [T]he book makes important contributions to the understanding of Soviet women's participation in modern industrialized warfare, the nature of the Stalinist state, and women's place within wider society. It is a well written and painstakingly researched study." - Robert Dale, Comparativ

Shortlisted for the General History Prize of the 2013 NSW Premier's History Awards (Australia)

'A brilliant, evocative, and meticulously researched book about an important and intriguing topic. Why did so many Soviet women bear arms between 1941 and 1945? How did their experience as warriors change their lives? This is a 'must read' not only for people passionate about Soviet history, but for anyone thinking seriously about the relationship between militarism and femininity.' - Prof.Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

'The first comprehensive study in English of Soviet women on the Eastern Front in the 'Great Patriotic War', this book uses a wealth of sources to reveal the array of military roles women undertook, and their aftermath. At times a harrowing story, anyone interested in the Second World War, the Soviet Union and women's history will gain fresh insights from this meticulously researched book. A must and a pleasure to read!' - Prof.Beate Fieseler, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany

With strokes both broad-brush and deft, Roger Markwick and Euridice Charon Cardona reconstruct the panoply of roles performed by Soviet women at the front during the Great Patriotic War. They also analyze what it meant to these women who served their country, what motivated them, and how the country reacted to their service and their sacrifices. In recounting Soviet women's violation of numerous conventions, the authors boldly challenge the conventional wisdom among scholars. This is thus not only an exciting book, but an important one too. - Prof.Lewis Siegelbaum, Michigan State University, USA

Authors and Affiliations

  • The University of Newcastle, Australia

    Roger D. Markwick, Euridice Charon Cardona

About the authors

ROGER MARKWICK Associate Professor of Modern European History, the University of Newcastle, Australia. His Rewriting History in Soviet Russia: The Politics of Revisionist Historiography in the Soviet Union, 1956-1974 won the Alexander Nove Prize in Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Studies for 2001. His latest research is on Soviet women on the home front during the Second World War. EURIDICE CHARON CARDONA Senior Research Associate in the School of Humanities and Social Science, the University of Newcastle, Australia. She has a particular research interest in Soviet medicine and nursing during the Second World War. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Newcastle, Australia (2008), and an MA in history from the University of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Bibliographic Information

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