A well-written and solidly researched exploration of the 19th-century women’s rights movement.



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.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73382-390-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Brown Blackwell Books

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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