26 / CHRONICLESnare extremely vulnerable to rapid extinction.nSexual reproduction confersna great many long-term advantages—ngreater diversity, more rapid adaptation,nheightened protection againstndisease — which the authors dancenaround, and in the end cannot honestlyndeny.nWhile it is probably true that advancesnin petri-dish conception andnartificial wombs may soon allownwomen to choose to dispense withnmen altogether, it would also seemnpossible for men to use a related tech­nnology to dispense with women. Thesenscenarios represent the war of the sexesncarried to its logical, genocidal extreme.nSuch apocalyptic fantasies havenlong kept the feminists amused. Thendanger in our time, of course, is thatnthe ideologues may soon have the toolsnto achieve their ends.nMeanwhile, outside the megaintellectualnworld, men conhnue tonfollow their genetic imprints, and thenrites of passage so despised by thenmodernists live on. Combat trainingnendures as the male ritual most com­nLady and the Vamp by James /. Thompson Jr.n”No womman of no clerk is praised.”nGrowing Up in the 18SOs: ThenJournal of Agnes Lee, edited bynMary Custis Lee deButts, ChapelnHill: University of North CarolinanPress; $11.95.nMarthe, translated by Donald M.nFrame, New York: Harcourt BracenJovanovich; $19.95.nAn old-fashioned historian can benforgiven for feeling a touch ofnempathy for the bewildered Egyptiansnupon whom Yahweh emptied the vesselsnof wrath some 3,500 years ago.nThe Hebrews’ God plagued the Egyptiansnfor a matter of days, but the sternnMinerva who reigns over academe hasntormented historians for two decadesnor more. Like the pullulating frogs thatnhopped and croaked on the banks ofnthe Nile, a host of noisome creaturesnhas invaded the orderly precincts ofnhistorical scholarship. Pestilence appearsnin many forms: Marxism, thennew social history, black pride, gaynconsciousness, pop Freudianism, andncomputer analysis.nNone of these has wreaked quite sonmuch havoc as feminism. These arenparlous hmes for the historian whonclings to the once-respected craft ofnchronicling the achievements of statesmen,nwarriors, priests, and fashionersn]ames Thompson is book review editornat New Oxford Review.n-Chaucernof ideas, most of whom have sufferednthe misfortune of maleness. Facednwith this onslaught, one is tempted tonadopt a siege mentality and brace fornthe final assault of the barbarians. Butnin this case, the barbarians may havensomething to teach us, for in spite ofntheir procrustean ideologizing, theirncant and posturing, their venomousnscorn for outmoded forms of historicalninquiry, the prachhoners of women’snhistory have illuminated a realm largelynignored by previous historians. Thatnnnmon among blue collar and red- andnblack-necks, despite Pentagon attemptsnto build an “equal opportunity” army.nStreet gangs grow in size and influence,noverwhelming the best efforts ofnauthorihes to tame the boys in school.nEven at the universities, fraternitynpledgeship survives as a degeneratenform of fagging, still facing the opprobriumnof liberal faculties and professionalnadministrators. Where modernninstitutions and ideologies have failednthem, boys still seek ways of becomingnmen.nthe lives of obscure women should benbrought into the historian’s purview isnnot such a radical idea after all; thenpity is that the deed has been wroughtntoo often by people whose scholarshipnis twisted by sexual animosity andnpolitical exigency.nThe new concentration upon thendaily lives of women has had at leastnone beneficial result: the publicationnof primary materials that have beenneither unknown or accessible only tonarchival moles. Neither Growing Upnin the 1850s, the adolescent musingsnof Agnes Lee, nor Marthe, a collechonnof family letters that reveals thencarryings-on of a fin de siecle Frenchnwoman, contains anything especiallynearthshaking; this is not the stuff fromn