Indiana University Press, 312 p., 39,95 dollars. ISBN-13 : 978-0-253-35451-8
Cantinières and vivandières were women who served as official, uniformed combat auxiliaries of French army units from 1793 to the eve of World War I. Technically non-combatant spouses of active-duty soldiers, they fought and died in every conflict from the wars of the Revolution through colonial campaigns in Algeria, Mexico, West Africa, and Indochina. At a time when women were strictly controlled by the Napoleonic Code, cantinières owned property, traveled widely, and exercised a fierce independence from their husbands. However, despite their actions, they passed largely under the radar of the growing feminist and anti-feminist movements that flourished in France from 1792 onward. Based on extensive archival research as well as published sources, Intrepid Women is the first serious book-length study of a previously ignored aspect of women’s and military history.