Lisa M. Todd
Sexual Treason in Germany during the First World War
Palgrave Macmillan 2017
New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 22, 2018 Michael E. O’Sullivan
The First World War is usually associated with Trench Warfare, industrial mobilization, and the Lost Generation. In her recent book, Sexual Treason in Germany during the First World War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Lisa M. Todd reveals an obsession among elites, the state, and everyday people with sex in the midst of such disruptive warfare. She argues that the state, the churches, and even their neighbors viewed men and women who had sex outside of marriage as traitors to the nation. Critically exploring explosive debates among moral Christians, sex reformers, military figures, and politicians, this book demonstrates the profound ambiguities of the era. Balancing everyday stories with major legal changes and cultural discourse, Todd assesses sexual encounters on the western, eastern, and home fronts. She analyzes fraught issues such as sex work, POW labor, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Combining dynamic individual stories from a rich archival base, this book is one that will appeal to many listeners.
Michael E. O’Sullivan is Associate Professor of History at Marist College where he teaches courses about Modern Europe. He will publish Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965 with University of Toronto Press in the fall of 2018.