A debut history book examines American women’s fight for the vote.
In this first installment of a series, Bennett covers the early decades of the women’s rights movement, concluding shortly after the Civil War. Drawing heavily on letters and published writings, the author shows the collaborative and often contentious nature of 19th-century activism and places it in the context of the present-day, ongoing struggle for equality. The narrative is organized by theme as much as by chronology, with each chapter presenting a question (“What is men’s role in a feminist movement?”; “How do we define our priorities?”) that is answered by the historical figures and events within it. While famous movement leaders like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone all feature prominently, the volume skillfully tells the stories of lesser-known activists (Julia Ward Howe, Angelina Grimke, Prudence Crandall) and gives full attention to the efforts of black women advocating for both suffrage and equality (Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Frances Watkins). Bennett weaves together the many quotations from historical letters, speeches, and newspapers (a full list of citations appears at the end) with a narration that is both casual and of the moment. Stewart stepped back from the cause because “she wasn’t volunteering to be her community’s personal therapist”; Catharine Beecher supported women speaking “almost never, hardly anywhere and not by any means that might possibly effect policy change”; women in one utopian community “organized conventions, gave speeches, and, um, did the dishes.” The result is a highly readable and engaging work of firmly constructed history that serves as an excellent introduction to the topic. Although the book does not break any new ground in historical research or analysis, it does an excellent job of synthesizing and presenting a wide range of sources and details, keeping the many historical figures distinct and offering a narrative that is easy for readers to follow.
A well-written and solidly researched exploration of the 19th-century women’s rights movement.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)