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Publication Date: London: Jonathan Cape, 2020. 354 p.
Reviewed: LR Feb. 2020 p. 34. Description: Helen Lewis argues that feminism’s success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women, who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines. It’s time to reclaim the history of feminism as a history of difficult women. In this book, you'll meet the working-class suffragettes who advocated bombings and arson; the princess who discovered why so many women were having bad sex; the pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men’s rights activist; the “striker in a sari” who terrified Margaret Thatcher; the wronged Victorian wife who definitely wasn’t sleeping with the prime minister; and the lesbian politician who outraged the country. Taking the story up to the present with the twenty-first-century campaign for abortion services, Helen Lewis reveals the unvarnished–and unfinished–history of women’s rights.
Call Number: Received Not Yet Cataloged-Grant Book
Publication Date: New York: St. Martin’s Pr., 2022. xii, 304 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 3 Apr. 2022 p. 10. Description: Centuries after the infamous witch hunts that swept through Europe and America, witches continue to hold a unique fascination for many: as fairy tale villains, practitioners of pagan religion, as well as feminist icons. Witches are both the ultimate victim and the stubborn, elusive rebel. But who were the women who were accused and often killed for witchcraft? What types of women have centuries of terror censored, eliminated, and repressed? Feminist author Mona Chollet explores three types of women who were accused of witchcraft and persecuted: the independent woman, since widows and celibates were particularly targeted; the childless woman, since the time of the hunts marked the end of tolerance for those who claimed to control their fertility; and the elderly woman, who has always been an object of at best, pity, and at worst, horror. Examining modern society, Chollet concludes that these women continue to be harrassed and oppressed. Rather than being a brief moment in history, the persecution of witches is an example of society’s seemingly eternal misogyny, while women today are direct heirs to those who were hunted down and killed for their thoughts and actions. (publ.)
Call Number: Received Not Yet Cataloged-Grant Book
Publication Date: New York: Bold Type Books, 2021. xi, 287 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 28 Nov. 2021 p. 16. Description: From suffragettes to sexuality, feminist history is often told as a narrative of women united in the fight against patriarchy. But there have always been limits and fault lines in the feminist movements that centered white women’s rights at the expense of all others. As scholar Kyla Schuller argues here, white women, across political classes, have used racism and other hierarchies of power to win their own rights and expand their personal opportunities. Their white feminist politics have come at a great cost, resulting in the sustained exploitation, oppression, and silencing of women of color. This work details the history of white feminist icons and their counterparts from the 1840s to the present. From Margaret Sanger, who promoted racist eugenics and was in conflict with Dr. Dorothy Ferebee, to Pauli Murray, who fought for a more radical vision of feminism against Betty Friedan’s homophobic and racist ideas. Today, that tradition endures. So-called feminists continue to advocate excluding trans people from the movement and promote the Violence Against Women Act that has buttressed the greatest carceral state in the world. But as Schuller argues, resistance to these white feminist politics has continually emerged from Black, indigenous, poor, queer, and trans women and their movements for liberation. It is only by understanding this complex legacy that feminism can build a movement that honors the radical work and lives of those who suffer most under patriarchy. (publ.) Author Note: Kyla Schuller is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Faculty Director of the Women’s Global Health Leadership Certificate Program at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. She is the author of The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke UP, 2018)
Publication Date: London: Picador, 2019. xi, 242 p.
Reviewed: TLS 10 Jan. 2020 p. 14. Description: In 2016, Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalization of Muslim men to the “traditional submissiveness” of Muslim women. Mariam felt pretty sure she didn’t know a single Muslim woman who would describe herself that way. Why was she hearing about Muslim women from people who were neither Muslim, nor female? Years later the state of the national discourse has deteriorated even further, and Muslim women’s voices are still pushed to the fringes–the figures leading the discussion are white and male. Taking one of the most politicized and misused words associated with Muslim women and Islamophobia, this collection is poised to change all that. Here are voices you won’t see represented in the national news headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hi-jab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. With a mix of British and international women writers, from activist Mona Eltahawy’s definition of a revolution to journalist and broad-caster Saima Mir telling the story of her experience of arranged marriage, from author Sufiya Ahmed on her Islamic feminist icon to playwright Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s moving piece about her relationship with her hijab, these essays are funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, and each of them is a passionate declaration calling time on the oppression, the lazy stereotyping, the misogyny and the Islamophobia. What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it’s all about the burqa. Here’s what it’s really about. (publ.)
Publication Date: London: Simon & Schuster, 2019. 374 p.
Reviewed: TLS 21 June 2019 p. 28. Description: Saudi Arabia is one of the most closed countries in the world. To separate fact from fiction, Nicola Sutcliff decided to go behind the veil for four years living, working and socialising in Saudi society. The resulting project–this fascinating and revelatory book–aims to raise the voices of these women; to share their realities, dreams, frustrations and talents. Through personal interviews, thirty women share their stories: from world-renowned activists to wives in polygamous households; high-ranking princesses to desert-dwelling bedouins. They talk candidly about the issues most intriguing to a Western audience–driving, sister wives and the religious police–as well as lesser known aspects of their lives, including under-the-abaya fashion, underground parties, and the practice of “purchasing” husbands online. Many of the topics they discuss are completely unreported, until now. This compelling book also includes timely essays on wide-ranging subjects including driving, transgenderism, male guardianship, religion, politics and sexuality. (publ.)
Description: Highlights the complexity and diversity of representations of rural women in the U.S. and Canada from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. The chapters in this collection offer fresh perspectives on representations of rural women in literature, popular culture, and print, digital, and social media. They explore a wide range of time periods, geographic spaces, and rural women’s experiences, including Mormon pioneer women, rural lesbians in the 1970s, Canadian rural women’s organizations, and rural trans youth. In their stories, these women and girls navigate the complex realities of rural life, create spaces for self-expression, develop networks to communicate their experiences, and challenge misconceptions and stereotypes of rural womanhood. (publ.)
Publication Date: New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2019. xx, 296 p.
Reviewed: TLS 5 July 2019 p. 11. Description: Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave-owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South's slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave-owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave-owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Doubleday, 2019. x, 336 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 8 Dec. 2019 p. 28 (“100 Notable Books of 2019”). Description: When Megan Stack was living in Beijing, she left her prestigious job as a foreign correspondent to have her first child and work from home writing a book. She quickly realized that caring for a baby and keeping up with the housework while her husband went to the office each day was consuming the time she needed to write. This dilemma was resolved in the manner of many upper-class families and large corporations: she availed herself of cheap Chinese labor. The housekeeper Stack hired was a migrant from the countryside, a mother who had left her daughter in a precarious situation to earn desperately needed cash in the capital. As Stack’s family grew and her husband’s job took them to Dehli, a series of Chinese and Indian women cooked, cleaned, and babysat in her home. Stack grew increasingly aware of the brutal realities of their lives: domestic abuse, alcoholism, unplanned pregnancies. Hiring poor women had given her the ability to work while raising her children, but what ethical compromise had she made? (publ.)
Publication Date: Austin: U. Texas Pr., 2018. 204 p.
Reviewed: PW 2 July 2018 p. 60. Description: Woven with candid observations about her life as a feminist scholar of African studies and a cisgender femme married to a trans spouse, Tinsley’s “Femme-onade” mixtape explores myriad facets of black women’s sexuality and gender. Turning to Beyonce’s “Don't Hurt Yourself,” Tinsley assesses black feminist critiques of marriage and then considers the models of motherhood offered in “Daddy Lessons,” interspersing these passages with memories from Tinsley’s multiracial family history. Her chapters on non-traditional bonds culminate in a discussion of contemporary LGBT politics through the lens of the internet-breaking video “Formation,” underscoring why Beyonce’s black femmeinism isn’t only for ciswomen. From pleasure politics and the struggle for black women’s reproductive justice to the sub-text of blues and country music traditions, the landscape in this tour is populated by activists and artists (including Loretta Lynn) and infused with vibrant interpretations of Queen Bey’s provocative, peerless imagery and lyrics. In the tradition of Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist and Jill Lepore’s bestselling cultural histories, this book is the work of a daring intellectual who is poised to spark a new conversation about freedom and identity in America. (publ.)
Publication Date: Urbana: U. Illinois Pr., 2018. xii, 201 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Jul. 2019 vol. 56 no. 11) Top 75 titles highly recommended for community college libraries. Description: Erin M. Kempker delves into how conspiracy theories affected–and undermined–second-wave feminism in the Midwest. Focusing on Indiana, Kempker views this phenomenon within the larger history of right-wing fears of subversion during the Cold War. Feminists and conservative women each believed they spoke in women’s best interests. Though baffled by the conservative dread of “collectivism,” feminists compromised by trimming radicals from their ranks. Conservative women, meanwhile, proved adept at applying old fears to new targets. Kempker’s analysis places the women’s opposing viewpoints side by side to unlock the differences that separated the groups, explain one to the other, and reveal feminism’s fate in the Midwest. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Penguin, 2018. xxvii, 258 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 11 Nov. 2018 p. 50; LJ 1 Sept. 2018 p. 70. Description: Why is it difficult for so many women to fully identify with the word “feminist”? How do our personal histories and identities affect our relationship to feminism? Why is intersectionality so important? Can a feminist movement that doesn’t take other identities like race, religion, or socioeconomic class into account even be considered feminism? How can we make feminism more inclusive? Seventeen established and emerging writers from diverse backgrounds wrestle with these questions, exploring what feminism means to them in the context of their other identities–from a hijab-wearing Muslim to a disability rights activist to a body-positive performance artist to a transgender journalist. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Cambridge UP, 2018. x, 162 p.
Description: In the fall of 2016 those promoting patriarchal ideals saw their champion Donald Trump elected president of the United States and showed us how powerful patriarchy still is in American society and culture. Gilligan & Richards explain how patriarchy and its embrace of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and violence are starkly visible and must be recognized and resisted. They offer a bold and original thesis: that gender is the linchpin that holds in place the structures of unjust oppression through the codes of masculinity and femininity that subvert the capacity to resist in-justice. Feminism is not an issue of women only, or a battle of women versus men–it is the key ethical movement of our age. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018. xxxi, 284 p.
Reviewed: NYT 30 Sept. 2018 p. 31 (author interview); NYT/BR 14 Oct. 2018 p. 17; PW 27 Aug. 2018 p. 101. Description: In the year 2018, it seems as if women’s anger has suddenly erupted into the public conversation. … The story of female fury and its cultural significance has enshrouded women’s slow rise to political power in America. Traister tracks the history of female anger as political fuel. She explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes. She also examines the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel–as is most certainly occurring today. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015. 240 p.
Reviewed: NPR “All Things Considered” (14 Aug. 2015) Description: Drawing on her years as a campaigner and commentator on women's issues in the Middle East, Eltahawy explains that since the Arab Spring began, women in the Arab world have had two revolutions to under-take: one fought with men against oppressive regimes, and another fought against an entire political and economic system that treats women in countries from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya as second-class citizens ... Her book is a plea for outrage and action on their behalf, confronting the "toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend." (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019. 169 p.
Reviewed: NPR “All Things Considered” 21 Mar. 2019. Description: Fetishized, demonized, celebrated, and outlawed, the high heel is central to the iconography of modern womanhood. But are high heels good? Are they feminist? What does it mean for a woman (or, for that matter, a man) to choose to wear them? Meditating on the labyrinthine nature of sexual identity and the performance of gender, this book moves from film to fairytale, from foot binding to feminism, and from the golden ratio to glam rock. Journalist and author Summer Brennan considers this most provocative of fashion accessories as a nexus of desire and struggle, sex and society, violence and self expression, setting out to understand what it means to be a woman by walking a few hundred years in her shoes. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Cambridge UP, 2018. xix, 441 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Feb. 2019 vol. 56 no. 6) Essential; Top 75 Titles Recommended for community college libraries. Description: This collaborative book of twenty-two chapters offers an expansive, multifaceted narrative of British women’s literary and textual production in the period stretching from the English Reformation to the Restoration. Chapters work together to trace the contours of a diverse body of early modern women’s writing, aligning women’s texts with the major literary, political, and cultural currents with which they engage. Chapters are arranged across three historical periods (1526–1676) according to six themes, and include four methodological or theoretical chapters by leading scholars in the field. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Abrams, 2019. xv, 411 p.
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 90; TLS 15 Mar. 2019 p. 14; LR March 2019 p. 43; LJ Mar. 2019 p. 139; NYRB 11 Feb. 2021 p. 39. Description: Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives. Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in this book, diving into women’s lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world. (publ.)
Publication Date: [Gender and Culture Ser.] New York: Columbia UP, 222 p.
Review: TLS 22 Mar. 2019 p. 5. Description: An innovative group biography of three friendships forged in second-wave feminism. Poignant and politically charged, the book is a captivating personal account of the complexities of women's bonds. Nancy K. Miller describes her friendships with three well-known scholars and literary critics: Carolyn Heilbrun, Diane Middlebrook, and Naomi Schor. Their relation-ships were simultaneously intimate and professional, emotional and intellectual, animated by the political ferment of the women’s movement. Friendships like these sustained the generation of women whose entrance into male-dominated professions is still reshaping American society. The stories of their intertwined lives and books reveal how feminism illuminated the political importance of personal experience. Reflecting on aging and loss, ambition and rivalry, competition and collaboration, the three narratives combine to show us why and how friendship matters in the worlds of both work and love. (publ.)
Publication Date: Oakland, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler, 2015. xiii, 147 p.
Reviewed: NYT 17 June 2018 (author op/ed) Description: What is wrong with black women? Not a damned thing but the biased lens most people use to view them, says Tamara Winfrey Harris. When African women arrived on American shores, the three-headed hydra of asexual and servile Mammy, angry and bestial Sapphire, and oversexed and lascivious Jezebel followed close behind. In the ‘60s, the Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby machine leeching off the state, joined them. These caricatures persist–even in the “enlightened” 21st century–through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media memes, cable punditry, government policies, and Top 40 lyrics. … The book takes sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women, replacing warped prejudices with the straight-up truth–the complicated but far-from-hopeless reality of being a black woman in America. (publ.)
Publication Date: Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Pr. of Harvard UP, 2019. 360 p.
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 51; Choice (Sept. 2019 vol. 57 no. 1) Highly recommended for community college libraries. Description: Looking beyond the national leadership of the suffrage movement, an ac-claimed historian gives voice to the thousands of women from different backgrounds, races, and religions whose local passion and protest resound-ed throughout the land. For far too long, the history of how American women won the right to vote has been told as the tale of a few iconic leaders, all white and native-born. But Susan Ware uncovered a much broader and more diverse story waiting to be told. Ware tells her story through the lives of nineteen activists, most of whom have long been overlooked. We meet Mary Church Terrell, a multilingual African American woman; Rose Schneiderman, a labor activist building coalitions on New York’s Lower East Side; Claiborne Catlin, who toured the Massachusetts countryside on horseback to drum up support for the cause; Mary Johnston, an aristocratic novelist bucking the Southern ruling elite; Emmeline W. Wells, a Mormon woman in a polygamous marriage determined to make her voice heard; and others who helped harness a groundswell of popular support. We also see the many places where the suffrage movement unfolded–in church parlors, meeting rooms, and the halls of Congress, but also on college campuses and even at the top of Mount Rainier. Few corners of the United States were untouched by suffrage activism. (publ.)
Publication Date: Bingley, England: Emerald, 2017. xviii, 318 p.
Reviewed: TLS 4 May 2018 p. 31. Description: Thanks to those feminists who fought for liberation, young women today have freedom and opportunities their grandmothers could barely have imagined. Girls do better at school than boys and are more likely to go to university. As a result, women are taking more of the top jobs and the gender pay gap has all but disappeared. Yet rather than encouraging women to seize the new possibilities open to them, contemporary feminism tells them they are still oppressed. This book challenges this stance, unpicking the statistics from the horror stories to explore the reality of women’s lives. It argues that today's feminism is obsessed with trivial issues–skinny models, badly-phrased jokes and misplaced compliments–and focuses on the regulation of male behavior, rather than female empowerment, pitching men and women against each other in a never-ending gender war that benefits no-one. Feminism today does women no favors and it’s time we were all liberated from the gender wars. (publ.)
Publication Date: [S.l.]: Nothing But the Truth Publ., 2018. 366 p.
Reviewed: LJ 1 Nov. 2017 p. 92 Description: An anthology documenting the lessons and experiences of women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. These brief, trenchant essays offer glimpses into the hard-fought struggle to exercise one’s autonomy, creativity and dignity. … In a time when rights are being taken away from people, these women stand in the power of inclusion, the right to self-identify, social justice and equality. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Portfolio, 2018. 270 p.
Reviewed: PW 15 Jan. 2018 p. 50 Description: Women are not ancillary to the history of technology; they turn up at the very beginning of every important wave. But they’ve often been hidden in plain sight, their inventions and contributions touching our lives in ways we don’t even realize. Journalist Claire L. Evans finally gives these unsung female heroes their due with her insightful social history of the Broad Band, the women who made the internet what it is today. … She shows us how these women built and colored the technologies we can’t imagine life without. …This inspiring call to action is a revelation: women have embraced technology from the start. It shines a light on the bright minds whom history forgot, and shows us how they will continue to shape our world in ways we can no longer ignore. (publ.)
Publication Date: London: Chatto & Windus, 2016. 308 p.
Description: An inlaid wooden chest the size of a shoe box holds Lynn Knight’s button collection. A collection that has been passed down through three generations of women: a chunky sixties-era toggle from a favorite coat, three tiny pearl buttons from her mother’s first dress after she was adopted as a baby, a jet button from a time of Victorian mourning. Each button tells a story. The Button Box traces the story of women at home and in work from pre-First World War domesticity, through the first clerical girls in silk blouses, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Hachette, 2017. 400 p.
Reviewed: PW 7 Aug. 2017 p. 59; NYT/BR 12 Nov. 2017 p. 14; Choice May 2018 vol. 55 no. 9 (Essential; recommended for community college libraries) Description: Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history. (publ.)
Publication Date: Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2018. x, 194 p.
Reviewed: LJ 1 Apr. 2018 p. 34; CHE 12 Jan. 2018 (New Books); Choice (Nov. 2018 vol. 56 no. 3) Top 75 books recommended for community college libraries. Description: The gender wage gap is one of the most persistent problems of labor markets and women's lives. Most approaches to explaining the gap focus on adult employment despite the fact that many Americans begin working well before their education is completed. In her critical and compelling new book, Yasemin Besen-Cassino examines the origins of the gen-der wage gap by looking at the teenage labor force, where comparisons between boys and girls ought to show no difference, but do. Besen-Cassinos findings are disturbing. Because of discrimination in the market, most teenage girls who start part-time work as babysitters and in other freelance jobs fail to make the same wages as teenage boys who move into employee-type jobs. The “cost” of being a girl is also psychological; when teenage girls work retail jobs in the apparel industry, they have lower wages and body image issues in the long run. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Oxford UP, 2018. xxiv, 338 p.
Reviewed: TLS 30 Mar. 2018 p. 7 Description: What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist–or increase–even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics, by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne. It argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility some men feel to-ward all or most women. Rather, it’s primarily about controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling the “bad” women who challenge male dominance. And it’s compatible with rewarding “the good ones,” and singling out other women to serve as warnings to those who are out of order. It’s also common for women to serve as scapegoats, be burned as witches, and treated as pariahs. (publ.)
Publication Date: Chapel Hill: U. North Carolina Pr., 2017. xiii, 303 p.
Reviewed: Choice Apr. 2018 vol. 55 no. 8 (top 75 books recommended for community college libraries) Description: Examines an understudied dimension of women’s history in the United States: how a group of affluent white women from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries advanced the status of all women through acts of philanthropy. [...] Motivated by their own experiences with sexism, and focusing on women’s need for economic independence, these benefactors sought to expand women’s access to higher education, promote suffrage, and champion reproductive rights, as well as to provide assistance to working-class women. (publ.)
Publication Date: Boston: Beacon Pr., 2017. 213 p.
Reviewed: Economist 1 July 2017 p. 75 Description: For hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their minds feebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists--primarily men--claimed to find evidence to support this. From intelligence to emotion, cognition to behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. (publ.)
Publication Date: Oxford, Eng.: Oxford UP, 2018. xiii, 334 p.
Reviewed: LR Mar. 2018 p. 44; FA 98(2) Mar./Apr. 2019 p. 154. Description: Female scientists, doctors, and engineers experienced independence and responsibility during the First World War. … Though suffragist Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly that “the war revolutionized the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free,” the truth was very different. Although women had helped the country to victory and won the vote for those over thirty, they had lost the battle for equality. Men returning from the Front reclaimed their jobs, and conventional hierarchies were re-established. Fara examines how these pioneers, temporarily allowed into an exclusive world before the door slammed shut again, paved the way for today's women scientists. (publ.)
Publication Date: Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. 299 p.
Reviewed: TLS 16 June 2017 p. 33 Description: Sara Ahmed shows how feminist theory is generated from everyday life and the ordinary experiences of being a feminist at home and at work. Building on legacies of feminist of color scholarship in particular, Ahmed offers a poetic and personal meditation on how feminists become estranged from worlds they critique–often by naming and calling attention to problems–and how feminists learn about worlds from their efforts to transform them. Ahmed also provides her most sustained commentary on the figure of the feminist killjoy introduced in her earlier work while showing how feminists create inventive solutions such as forming support systems to survive the shattering experiences of facing the walls of racism and sexism. (publ.)
Publication Date: London: Reaktion Books, 2017. 293 p.
Reviewed: WSJ 11/12 Nov. 2017 p. C6; Choice Apr. 2018 vol. 55 no. 8 (top 75 books recommended for community college libraries) Description: In the glorious, boozy party after the First World War, a new being burst defiantly onto the world stage: the “flapper.” Young, impetuous and flirtatious, she was an alluring, controversial figure, celebrated in movies, fiction, plays, and the pages of fashion magazines. But, as this book argues, she didn’t appear out of nowhere. This spirited history gives us a fresh look at the reality of young women’s experiences in America and Britain from the 1890s to the 1920s, when the “modern” girl emerged. Lost Girls is a story of youth derided and fetishized; of ageing viscerally feared. It is a story of a culture beset by anxiety about adolescent girls. And it is a story of young women trying to shape their own identity amidst contradictory theories of adolescence and sexuality, the politics of suffrage, and popular fiction, theater, cinema and dance hall crazes. Linda Simon shows us how the modern girl bravely created a culture, a look, and a future of her own. An illuminating history of the iconic flapper as she evolved from a problem to a temptation, and finally, in the 1920s and beyond, to an aspiration. (publ.)
Publication Date: Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2017. xii, 239 p.
Reviewed: CHE 16 June 2017 (new books) Description: Though a majority of mothers of young children are employed outside the home, countless articles have been devoted to anecdotes about highly educated women in high-status occupations “opting out” of the labor force. Are mothers in these occupations in fact the most likely to opt out or reduce their work hours? Do race, ethnicity, or age of children play a role? Addressing these questions in a wide-ranging study, Liana Christin Landivar sheds important new light on the motherhood-employment link. Liana Christin Landivar is a senior researcher at the Women's Bureau in the US Department of Labor. (publ.)
Publication Date: North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Pr., 2016. x, 238 p.
Reviewed: TLS 8 Dec. 2017 (article mention) Description: For too long the global sex industry and its vested interests have dominated the prostitution debate repeating the same old line that sex work is just like any job. In large sections of the media, academia, public policy, government and the law, the sex industry has had its way. Little is said of the damage, violation, suffering, and torment of prostitution on the bodies and minds of mostly women and children, nor of the deaths, suicides and murders that are routine in the sex industry. This book refutes the lies and debunks the myths spread by the industry through the lived experiences of women who have survived prostitution. (publ.)
Publication Date: Chapel Hill: U. North Carolina Pr., 2017. 288 p.
Description: Examines black women’s political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. …Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women’s artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Grove Pr., 2018. xiii, 362 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 29 Apr. 2018 p. 12; TLS 24/31 Aug. 2018 p. 10. Description: The ten brilliant women who are the focus of Sharp came from different backgrounds and had vastly divergent political and artistic opinions. But they all made a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of America and ultimately changed the course of the twentieth century, in spite of the men who often undervalued or dismissed their work. (publ.) Contents: Preface–Parker–West–West & Hurston–Arendt–McCarthy–Parker & Arendt–Arendt & McCarthy–Sontag–Kael–Didion–Ephron–Arendt & McCarthy & Hellman–Adler–Malcolm–Afterword.
Publication Date: New York: Harper Perennial, 2018. 272 p.
Reviewed: PW 13 Nov. 2017 p. 55; NYT/BR 25 Mar. 2018 p. 26. Description: Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Random House, 2017. xliii, 331 p.
Reviewed: WSJ 12/13 Aug. 2017 p. C5; NYT/BR 20 Aug. 2017 p. 11; Economist 22 July 2017 p. 65; Economist 9 Dec. 2017 p. 83 (2017 Books of the Year); Choice Apr. 2018 vol. 55 no. 8 (Highly recommended; recommended for community college libraries). Description: Collection of stories by Nobel Prize winner (2015) Svetlana Alexievich, of women’s experiences in World War II, both on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. This is a new, distinct version of the war we’re so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to women whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private stories of individuals. Collectively, these women’s voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of the war. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: U Voĭny ne Zhenskoe Lit︠s︡o = У Войны не Женское Лицо (Moscow: Vremi︠a︡, 2016. [Corrected ed. from 1988].
Publication Date: Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2017. xiv, 151 p.
Reviewed: TLS 2 June 2017 p. 35 Description: “…No traction will be gained, Crispin argues, by politely accommodating contemporary feminists who beg men for leniency and good treatment or fetishize self-empowerment and self-care. …She argues against mainstreaming and commercialization of Feminism, the dilution of its message and the requirement that feminism be sold to the masses the way every product is: by conventionally pretty, young, white women who assure consumers of ‘my approachability, my reasonable nature …my love of men and my sexual availability …’” (TLS)
Contents: Introduction -- The problem with universal feminism -- Women do not have to be feminists -- Every option is equally feminist -- How feminism ended up doing patriarchy's work -- Self empowerment is just another word for narcissism -- The fights we choose -- Men are not our problem -- Safety is a corrupt goal -- Where we go from here.
Publication Date: New York: Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2017. xi, 115 p.
Reviewed: TLS 30 Mar 2018 p. 7. Description: In two provocative essays, Beard connects the past to the present as only she can, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated powerful women since time immemorial. As far back as Homer’s Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech historically being defined as inherently male. There is no clearer example than Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, who seals her lips and proceeds upstairs when told to shut up by Telemachus, her son. Other women who have dared to open their mouths in public or, against all odds, gained power–from would-be Roman orators, though the great queen Elizabeth I–have been treated as “freakish androgynes,” attacked or punished for their courage–regarded with suspicion at best, contempt at worst. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws endlessly illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship to power–and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. (publ.)
Publication Date: Boston: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 304 p.
Reviewed: PW 8 May 2017 p. 49; NYT/BR 17 Sept. 2017 p. 26. Description: A memoir and commentary which explores how our culture shapes ideas about who women are, what they are meant to be, and where they belong.
Publication Date: New York: Verso, 2016. vi, 182 p.
Synopsis: “Hillary Clinton presents her campaign for the presidency and her long career in public life as a triumph of feminism. But an all-star lineup of American feminists here says, ‘It’s not that simple.’” (publ.).
Publication Date: New York: Nation Books, 2017. 320 p.
Reviewed: NYT 30 Apr. 2017 p. SR1 Description: Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to “have it all” because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has gotten higher. … If our laws and policies made women’s happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, she explains, so many contentious issues would be resolved with one fell swoop -- from women’s health to equal pay. Filipovic illustrates this argument by asking women across America what it is they need, and provides an blueprint for a feminist movement we all need: one that lays out how policy, laws and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all. (publ.)
Publication Date: Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 2017. 370 p., 14 p. of plates.
Reviewed: NPR (6 April 2017: "The Hello Girls Chronicles The Women Who Fought For America — And For Recognition"). Description: In World War I, telephones linked commanding generals with soldiers in muddy trenches. A woman in uniform connected almost every one of their calls, speeding the orders that won the war. Like other soldiers, the “Hello Girls” swore the Army oath and stayed for the duration. A few were graduates of elite colleges. Most were ordinary, enterprising young women motivated by patriotism and adventure, eager to test their mettle and save the world. A handful followed General Pershing to the gates of Verdun and the battlefields of Meuse-Argonne. When the switch-board operators sailed home a year later, the Army dismissed them without veterans’ benefits or victory medals.
Publication Date: Winnipeg: U. Manitoba Pr., 2016. xxii, 455 p.
Synopsis: Far into the twentieth century there was persistent opposition to the idea that women could or should farm: British women were to be exemplars of an idealized white femininity, not toiling in the fields. In Canada, heated debates about women farmers touched on issues of ethnicity, race, gender, class, and nation. Despite legal and cultural obstacles and discrimination, British women did acquire land as homesteaders, farmers, ranchers, and speculators on the Canadian prairies. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Oxford UP, 2016. 321 p., 16 p. of plates.
Reviewed: Choice Aug 2016 vol. 53 no. 12 (Essential; Top 75 Titles Recommended for Community College Libraries) Description: Simultaneously a dignified woman and scrappy freedom fighter, Hedgeman's life upends conventional understandings of many aspects of the civil rights and feminist movements. She worked as a teacher, lobbyist, politician, social worker, and activist, often crafting and implementing policy behind the scenes. Although she repeatedly found herself a woman among men, a black American among whites, and a secular Christian among clergy, she maintained her conflicting identities and worked alongside others to forge a common humanity. (publ.) Note: Hedgeman (1899-1990) was a native of Iowa, born in Marshalltown. She was raised and went to school in Anoka, Minn. and graduated from Hamline Univ. in St. Paul.