Gerda Lerner - Selected Works

Selected Works

Black Women in White America: A Documentary History was published in 1972. It chronicles 350 years of black women being treated as property and describes the long range effects of the slave past. It was one of the first books to detail the contributions of black women in women's history. The Creation of Feminist Consciousness was published in 1993. The book traces the roots of patriarchal dominance back to two millennia.

In The Creation of Patriarchy, volume one of Women and History, Lerner ventures into prehistory, attempting to trace the roots of patriarchal dominance. Lerner provides historical, archeological, literary, and artistic evidence for the idea that patriarchy is a cultural construct. The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to 1870 is the second volume of Women and History. In this book, she reviews European culture from the seventh century through the nineteenth century, showing the limitations imposed by a male-dominated culture and the sporadic attempt to resist that domination. She examines in detail the educational deprivation of women, their isolation from many of the traditions of their societies, and the expressive outlet many women have found through writing.

Fireweed: A Political Autobiography, published in 2003, is her detailed documentation of her years from childhood to 1958 when she first began her studies at the New School for Social Research in New York. She writes about her time in Vienna where she suffered anti-Semitism, imprisonment, deportation, immigration, and McCarthyism along with her strained relationship with her mother. She recalls in Beginnings starvation and imprisonment in Austria and her family's survival, due in part to the fact that her father had opened a branch of the family business in Liechtenstein, where he stayed. Her mother moved to France, and Lerner's sister relocated to Israel. She came to the United States at the age of eighteen under the sponsorship of the family of the young man she would marry. The marriage failed, and she survived as a typical immigrant, working for minimum wage. She met Carl, and they both obtained divorces in Reno so that they could marry each other, then moved from New York to Hollywood, where Carl's career in film blossomed. For her works Lerner has received many awards including the Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Historical Writing of the Society of American Historians, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Special Book Award.

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