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Women as Veterans in Britain and France after the First World War
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    Fell, Alison S. and Sternberg, Claudia 2018. Nurse-Martyr-Heroine: Representations of Edith Cavell in Interwar Britain, France and Belgium. Journal of War & Culture Studies, Vol. 11, Issue. 4, p. 273.

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    Women as Veterans in Britain and France after the First World War
    • Online ISBN: 9781108348935
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Book description

This is the story of how women in France and Britain between 1915 and 1933 appropriated the cultural identity of female war veteran in order to have greater access to public life and a voice in a political climate in which women were rarely heard on the public stage. The 'veterans' covered by this history include former nurses, charity workers, secret service agents and members of resistance networks in occupied territory, as well as members of the British auxiliary corps. What unites these women is how they attempted to present themselves as 'female veterans' in order to gain social advantages and give themselves the right to speak about the war and its legacies. Alison S. Fell also considers the limits of the identity of war veteran for women, considering as an example the wartime and post-war experiences of the female industrial workers who led episodes of industrial action.


‘As we begin the crucial conversations on the legacy of the First World War for women a century later, Women as Veterans in Britain and France after the First World War will help lead the way. Alison S. Fell's smart and sophisticated analysis shows how and why some women's war stories could come to represent all women. Her skilful excavation of British and French women's wartime service and sacrifice and postwar self-presentations proves thoroughly captivating from start to finish.'

Susan R. Grayzel - Utah State University

‘Fell retrieves activists who worked between the world wars to celebrate the forgotten ‘sisters', nurses and other women whose service and sacrifices placed them next to their fallen ‘brothers' in England and France. She draws out many-layered meanings of interwar commemorations and distinguishes the more traditional French gender models from English activism. Her work will speak to both historians and students of war literature.'

Margaret R. Higonnet - University of Connecticut

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