06/30/2014 10:43 AM
BATON ROUGE – In “The Republic of Men,” Geoff Read explores the intersection of gender
bias and the eight most important political parties in interwar France, breaking new
scholarly ground in profound ways. The first to compare gender discourse across the
political spectrum in a national context and trace the origins of the fascist “new
man” in other political traditions, Read evaluates the impact of gender discourse
upon policy during a pivotal period in French history.
Skillfully exploring how differing political traditions – from left to right – influenced
and reacted to each other, Read shows that regardless of the party, predominant notions
of gender manifested themselves in misogyny and double standards when it came to women’s
Despite the hostility of male politicians and party members, and despite women’s exclusion
from both parliament and the vote, Read argues that women were nonetheless crucial
to politics and visibly prominent within almost every political party in interwar
France. Read explains this seeming contradiction by demonstrating the existence of
a conservative trend in gender politics that by the mid-1930s had enveloped even the
Through his masterful analysis, Read closes significant gaps in the existing historiography
and presents a truly revisionist assessment of early twentieth-century French politics.
Read is assistant professor of history at Huron University College. “The Republic of Men” is now available from LSU Press.
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014