CRYSTAL EASTMAN ON WOMEN AND REVOLUTION by Blanche Wiesen--Ed. Cook

CRYSTAL EASTMAN ON WOMEN AND REVOLUTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Crystal Eastman, daughter of two preachers and devoted sister/mentor of Max, worked through several careers before her death at 46 in 1928. As labor lawyer and commissioner she pioneered in industrial safety and workmen's compensation legislation. As an investigative reporter she published here and in England, became the first American journalist to report from Communist Hungary, and launched The Liberator. As a feminist, anti-militarist, and socialist, she was always organizing: the Women's Peace Party, the First Feminist Congress, the Civil Liberties Bureau. By working a 20-hour day, she also found time to marry twice, have two children, and organize more than one communal household. She has disappeared, editor Cook contends in a thorough, concise introduction, because ""history tends to bury what it seeks to reject."" At last unearthed, her works collected here are grouped under her twin passions--feminism and socialism--but range widely from portraits (Alice Paul, Emmeline Pankhurst) to reportage (""Socialist Women of 18 Countries Meet at Marseilles"") to interviews (Bertrand Russell on raising children) to political analysis (the Wisconsin suffrage campaign vs. the brewers; the debate over protective legislation for female workers that split the women's movement). She can be wry, caustic, funny, always to the point (on birth control: ""Feminists are not nuns"") and passionately hopeful of ""a world whose possibilities of freedom and life for all are now certainly immeasurable."" Except for that optimism, more suited to the Progressive era than to our own, her work is as timely as next year. Neglected for half a century, it cannot now be overlooked.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press