The value of Herzog's study, in addition to the factual information presented, is a tragic reminder of two interrelated truths: 1) by studying history we could learn how to make a better world in which to live; and, 2) we do not learn from history. The women's movement of recent years has two aspects which do not, for all times, go together. One moving force in its genesis is the demand that physical and emotional abuse and misuse of women by men cease. The other, not necessarily related to the first, is that of equal status, which includes equal access to employment, legal protection, compensation and, less tangibly, human dignity. Herzog presents us in this study with a society which, in its idealized form, represents an “attempt to balance the powers between the sexes.” What men and women did was not deemed the same, but men and women had parallel significant voices.
One of the world's best-kept secrets, until recently, was that a sizable proportion of men and women find their most significant relationships, both emotionally and physically, with members of their own sex. For example, the 1971 edition of Brief Lives fails to inform its readers that homosexual relationships were meaningful in the lives of Tchaikovsky, Thoreau, Garcia Lorca or Virginia Wolfe. A most blatant example of this intentional negligence dealing with Chicano writers can be found in Literatura Chicana: texto y contexto, in which a selection of John Rechy is given a fourteen-line introduction which does not mention that Rechy is a nationally known, best selling gay activist writer.