When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Kristen R. Ghodsee was travelling in Europe, and spent the summer of 1990 witnessing first-hand the initial hope and euphoria that followed the sudden and unexpected collapse of state socialism in the former Eastern Bloc. The political and economic chaos that followed inspired Ghodsee to pursue an academic career studying this upheaval, focusing on how ordinary people's lives - and women's particularly - changed when state socialism gave way to capitalism. For the last two decades, she has visited the region regularly and lived for over three years in Bulgaria and the Eastern parts of reunified Germany. Now a professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, she has won many awards for her work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has written six books on gender, socialism, and postsocialism, examining the everyday experiences of upheaval and displacement that continue to haunt the region to this day. Ghodsee also writes on women's issues for the Chronicle of Higher Education and is the co-author of Professor Mommy- Finding Work/Family Balance in Academia. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications such as Eurozine, Aeon, Dissent, Foreign Affairs and The New York Times.
Wonderful ... Kristen Ghodsee doesn't wear rose-tinted spectacles ... but she seeks with great brio and nuance to lay out what some socialist states achieved for women ... That Ghodsee also makes this a joyous read is the cherry on the cake -- Suzanne Moore * Observer * Ghodsee's book could not have been published at a better moment ... There are many reasons to revisit socialist policies in a time of widening inequality, but a feminist perspective offers some of the most powerful incentives -- Emily Witt * Guardian * Brilliant ... engaging ... Ghodsee is not naive [and] brings the necessary scepticism to her thesis [which] comes into sharp focus when she looks at what happened after the Wall fell ... [a] valuable record of how things were and how they could be -- Rosie Boycott * Financial Times * Convincing, provocative and useful * Times Higher Education * Capitalism's triumph is a calamity for most women. Kristen Ghodsee's incisive book brilliantly reveals their plight -- Yanis Varoufakis