Cover: What Trouble I Have Seen: A History of Violence against Wives, from Harvard University PressCover: What Trouble I Have Seen in PAPERBACK

What Trouble I Have Seen

A History of Violence against Wives

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$32.50 • £26.95 • €29.50

ISBN 9780674950788

Publication Date: 03/30/1998

Short

256 pages

6 x 9-1/4 inches

World

This is a fascinating book, with a bold and clear argument and a host of insights into family life and standards… It is stimulating, often plausible, and important.—Peter N. Stearns, American Historical Review

What Trouble I Have Seen is informed by the author’s wide reading in anthropology and related disciplines which offer insight into domestic violence and, unusually, by a year Peterson del Mar spent as a counsellor to abusive men. No doubt that work heightened his sensitivity to some of the issues; it also led him to conclude that the beliefs of abusive men regarding women are not much different from those of other men… This is an ambitious and important book, the first detailed study of wife abuse in one state over a long period.—Jerome Nadelahft, Canadian Review of American Studies

[Peterson] Del Mar offers a history of woman battering in Oregon that is compassionate, richly detailed, [and] complex… The richness of this historical examination will be of great interest to scholars and students of gender, family life, and violence against women.—James Ptacek, Contemporary Sociology

[A] groundbreaking study… David Peterson del Mar has succeeded in his aim of bringing research in this tender subject to the fore. He has produced a book of notable worth containing research that is highly readable, thought-provoking and relevant to modern society.Icarus

What Trouble I Have Seen weaves together an extraordinary mix of contradictory threads in the histories of violence, westward expansion, race, economics, gender roles, work, attitudes about marriage and women, and changes in the economy to explain historical changes in violence against wives. It is both a local history of Oregon and a larger social analysis of changing national patterns. It is solid scholarship with an activist aim at understanding the problem in order to solve it. The complexity of Peterson Del Mar’s argument is commendable. He covers the incidence and nature of male violence against wives, women’s resistance to it and societal interventions in violent marriages… What Trouble I Have Seen is an immensely useful book. Peterson Del Mar’s thesis regarding historical changes in the level and nature of violence against wives is a much needed contribution, as he ties together disparate changes in society. His careful reading of legal documents blended with a variety of popular culture sources gives us greater insight into the problem.—Deborah L. Kitchen, Journal of American Culture

In What Trouble I Have Seen, Peterson Del Mar paints an extraordinary landscape of men’s violence against wives, the forms of women’s resistance to male violence, and nonviolent men’s complicity with the ideas that underpin such violence… Peterson Del Mar’s writing is clear and often moving. His effective use of the testimonies of those who have seen trouble, those who have meted out trouble, and those who have relegated it makes this a compelling read.—Carole J. Sheffield, Signs

A fascinating and rich study of violence against women, meticulously researched and replete with the voices of men and women who offer insights into their own lives and struggles. Peterson del Mar has crafted a careful social history, one in which he argues and demonstrates cogently that violence against wives and wives’ response to that violence have varied over time and have always been shaped by the social context—material, ideological, environmental, political.—Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of Michigan

Provides a historical framework for understanding domestic abuse that shows how the climate of the times shapes the way we understand [such] abuse.—Elizabeth Pleck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Awards & Accolades

  • 1996 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights
  • America Award for the Best Scholarship on the Subject of Intolerance in North America
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