This book has long been in the making and has benefited from advice and
encouragement from a number of people in various stages and arenas of
my life. The project started out as a Ph.D. dissertation, inspired by the
frustration I experienced when I arrived in Los Angeles from Budapest in
1990 and was confronted with my inability to describe gender relations in
state socialist Hungary to my American friends. I had never heard the
term ‘‘homemaker’’ before. They had never met anyone who took for
granted three-year paid maternity leaves.
My professors and friends and my readings and discussions in the De-
partment of Sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles
shaped my understanding of the world in profound ways. My most heart-
felt thanks go to Ivan Szelenyi, chair of my dissertation committee, ad-
visor, and mentor throughout my graduate school years at ucla and after-
ward. Köszönöm, Tanár úr!
Gail Kligman arrived at ucla at the best possible moment, and her
advice, encouragement, home-cooked meals, as well as funny stories
about her adventures in Romania and elsewhere were always much appre-
ciated. I also would like to thank Ruth Milkman (my very first and most
authentic role model for a feminist academic), as well as Carole Pateman
and Donald J. Treiman, who served on my dissertation committee.
But professors are only one part of the education process in graduate
school. I could not have finished this project without support, academic
and otherwise, from colleagues and friends. Most important, I want to
thank my closest friends and confidants, Susan Markens and Julie Press,