Women on Their Own includes eleven original essays that embrace a broad definition of singleness-women who never married, those who cohabit but are legally denied the right to marry, divorcees, and widows. Writers describe women who defiantly voted, single mothers who rejected dependency on public assistance, women who ran businesses, and others who found fulfillment in charitable work. Collectively, the self-reliance, creativity, and power to redefine difficult situations that these women-from a variety of cultures and countries-demonstrate make a powerful statement about the success of women on their own.
Rudolph M. Bell is professor of history at Rutgers University. Some of his more recent books published include, The Voices of Gemma Galgani: The Life and Afterlife of a Modern Saint, with Cristina Mazzoni, How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians, and Holy Anorexia.