This two-volume survey of the history of women in western civilization spans prehistory to the present. While devoting attention to women of all classes, religions, and ethnicities, the text examines political, economic, intellectual, and social history through the lens of gender. The narrative emphasizes women's agency over oppression and makes cutting-edge scholarship in women's history accessible to a wide audience. Five major themes run throughout the narrative: the relationship between key historical events and ideas and women's lives, the history of the family and sexuality, the social construction of gender, cultural assumptions about women (versus their actual lives), and self perception and women's place in western societies. A rich collection of primary sources and biographies reinforces these themes.