Pearl S. Buck grew up in China, accustomed to its traditions, but when she moved to the United States as an adult in the 1930s she was struck by the cultural differences in gender roles and expectations. In nine short chapters, she applies this personal experience to an exploration of the power dynamics of the American household, drawing one universal conclusion: “Complete freedom is the atmosphere in which men and women can live together most happily. But it must be complete.”
As she makes her case, Buck outlines two American female archetypes: the dissatisfied “gunpowder woman” and the placid “angel.” “Sensible and witty, merciless and often amusing,” this is a book that ultimately delivers a clarion call for men and women to find common ground and succeed hand in hand (The New York Times Book Review).
The first American female Nobel laureate, Buck was a pioneer women’s rights activist and humanitarian who believed both sexes could find happiness together, even in challenging economic or political circumstances. Imbued with an unshakeable faith in equality and strident candor, Of Men and Women remains a daringly original and candid work in the canon of feminist literature.