The first surprise about this book is that it was not written by a woman. The second is that, contrary to
the expectations raised by the title, Anthony DiGiorgio does not seem to have a high opinion of the female gender. He just
doesn’t think much of men. Although he begins with a list of reasons why Women Are Our Only Hope, it quickly
turns into a set of instructions directed mainly at women, advising us how we might go about changing the situation. Presumably
Mr DiGiorgio doesn’t think we have any ideas of our own on that subject.
If I sound cynical, it is the didactic tone of the book I find off-putting. If a writer wants to persuade
others of the correctness of his view, this is not the way to do it. "It is up to you to teach your children the stupidity
of religion…" he hectors, showing little respect for other people’s point of view. "Start by getting together
with other women and admit that you have had enough." It would be nice to think that these are the words of a second Frederick
Pethick-Lawrence, but I somehow feel that Mr Pethick-Lawrence would not have lasted long in the women’s suffrage movement
if he had ordered Mrs Pethick-Lawrence around like this. The logic, too, is wobbly. The premise of the pacifist message that
comes through so strongly is that it is women alone who give birth to the babies that make the soldiers who are sacrificed
in war. And there was me thinking that all children had fathers!
What Women Are Our Only Hope is in fact about has little to do with gender equality. It is actually
an anti-war book, and it is entirely Americo-centric. All the author’s suggestions are geared towards improving the
government and society of the United States and have little relevance for residents of any other country in the world. Apparently
there are 2000 generals and admirals in the USA, which does, I agree, seem a lot, but then the USA has a population five times
that of the UK. More to the point, it is difficult for the rest of us to see how changing the USA will resolve the problems
of the world overnight.
I wish I could say that the argument is well-presented. Unfortunately, although the spelling and punctuation
are correct, Mr DiGiorgio’s writing is hardly a paragon of English prose. "Make them compete for the knowledge that
will help them, versus for [sic] the glamour of victory," he says, advising us – or rather the Americans – to
end the teaching of sport in high schools. It is very odd to see this amalgam of liberalism and radical pacifist views mixed
in with a deep-rooted conservatism that comes out with statements like "rapists…should be sexually neutered" and "civil
servants are parasites who feed on the sweat of nongovernmental affiliated workers" (whatever that last phrase means).
In summary, this book is no more than a rant. I have no doubt that Anthony DiGiorgio means well, that he
genuinely wants to change the world, and that he has thought long and hard about how this might be achieved. I may even agree
with some of his statements. Yes, women do tend to accept inequality as the norm, and yes, they do need to be
shocked into doing something for themselves. But do they need this author to tell them how they should behave? I don’t