An amazing review in the New Yorker!

Heartfelt gratitude to Rebecca Mead! She really understood what I was trying to do with this book. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this engages and rigorous review.

“The virtue of Ghodsee’s smart, accessible book is that it illustrates how it might be possible for a woman — or, for that matter, a man — to have an entirely different structural relationship to something as fundamental as sex, or health.”

Read the full review here

Winter academic reading

My spring semester is about to start, but I had some time to delve into some great books about Eastern Europe and the politics of knowledge production during the Cold War. I wrote review of Birth of Democratic Citizenship and To See Paris and Die, I read Know Your Enemy for the first time and it inspired me to go back and reread Laura Nader’s and Noam Chomsky’s essays in The Cold War & The University.

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Reviews, reviews everywhere!

The last week has been a whirlwind of reviews to coincide with the original publication date of my book in the US. Perhaps because of Michelle Obama’s memoir, quite a few books were pushed back a week and my new publication date is Tuesday, November 20th, just in time for people to read it before Thanksgiving dinner. It will make for many debates around the table, I am sure. So far the reviews have been very encouraging. Even the conservative Times of London said that parts of the book were “fascinating,” and that “This book is not as silly as its title suggests.” That’s high praise from a Tory paper!

Thanks to Lidjia Haas and Violet Lucca at the Harper's Blog!

Okay, so I am terribly slow on the uptake because I am not on social media, but I was so thrilled to discover this lovely conversation between Lidjia Haas and Violet Lucca at Harper’s Magazine about Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism.

https://soundcloud.com/harpersmagazine/fall-books-and-an-interview-with-rachel-kushner

The conversation starts at around 22:40 and goes for about 10 minutes.

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Kirkus Review

From paid maternity leave to employment assurances, an argument for the benefits of socialism for women.

Ghodsee (Russian and East European Studies/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Red Hangover: Legacies of Twentieth-Century Communism, 2017, etc.) sums up her thesis in the introduction: “Unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives.” And if you disagree with the author, she clearly doesn’t care. “If you don’t give a whit about women’s lives because you’re a gynophobic right-wing internet troll,” she writes, “save your money and get back to your parents’ basement right now; this isn’t the book for you.” Ghodsee’s in-your-face tone sets the stage for a book that takes readers on a pointed examination of the Soviet experiment. Using her years living in Bulgaria as fodder for the narrative, along with decades of research, she makes the case that there are lessons capitalist countries can and should learn from socialism—e.g., how socialists pushed for equity between men and women and the benefits of collective forms of support for child-rearing. At the same time, the author isn’t blind to the failures of socialist regimes. “Hungarians never managed to redefine traditional gender roles,” she writes, “and domestic patriarchy was strengthened by pro-natalist family policies.” Still, she points to examples of Scandinavian countries where socialist ideas are working to improve women’s lives: “A wider social safety net,” she writes, “like those in the contemporary Northern European countries, will increase rather than decrease personal freedom…no one should have to stay in a job she hates for health insurance, or stick with a partner who beats her because she’s not sure how she’ll feed the kids, or have sex with some sugar elder because she can’t afford textbooks.” Ghodsee makes a convincing case, though she fails to investigate how socialism addresses LGBTQ and people of color. Perhaps she’s saving that for another book.

While the title is the literary version of click-bait, the book is chock-full of hard-hitting real talk.
— Kirkus

An early trade review from Publisher's Weekly

Eastern European studies professor Ghodsee (Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism) expands her viral New York Times op-ed into a passionate but reasoned feminist socialist manifesto for the 21st century. Drawing lessons from the history of women’s experiences under mid-20th-century state socialism and then under the capitalism that followed its collapse, she argues that “unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives.” Ghodsee devotes the most space to sexuality, arguing that in societies that have economic equality by gender, reproductive freedom, and social safety nets, women are freer to pursue their own desires. She also posits that the depression caused by living in a sexist society can squash heterosexual couples’ libido and male-female emotional connection, supporting this idea with data from studies of women in East and West Germany, Hungary, and Poland. And she delves into the benefits of full participation of women in the work force, especially in the public sector, supported by childcare and freedom from “statistical discrimination”; visible presence of women at top levels of government and business; and women’s participation in the political sphere. Pointing to successes not only in Communist countries but also in Scandinavian social democracies, Ghodsee’s treatise will be of interest to women becoming disillusioned with the capitalism under which they were raised.
— Publisher's Weekly