Essential for students of women’s rights and popular political movements in the modern era and an inspiration for future...

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THE FEMINIST REVOLUTION

THE STRUGGLE FOR WOMEN'S LIBERATION

Richly illustrated, engagingly written history of second-wave feminism and successor movements from the 1960s to the present.

As Morris (Women’s History/George Washington Univ. and Georgetown Univ.; Sappho’s Bar and Grill, 2017, etc.) and Withers (Sociology/Univ. of Bristol; Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission, 2015, etc.) write, the women’s liberation movement that developed alongside other countercultural political movements was predominantly Western and mostly “white-dominated.” They trace an early milestone to a conference in Oxford, England, held in late February 1970, the first women’s liberation conference in Britain, which articulated certain goals—importantly, “consciousness raising,” “a tool that enabled women to unlock knowledge that had been historically overlooked by male-dominated politics and culture.” The conference was important, but it had predecessors in such things as feminist protests at the 1968 Miss America pageant, which decried “an image that oppresses in every area in which it purports to represent us,” and the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. The political movement spread to embrace parallel movements on the part of women of color, with representatives such as Angela Davis in the U.S. and Olive Morris in the U.K. Other milestones included the publication, in 1971, of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective of Our Bodies, Ourselves, which, the authors note, sold 240,000 copies in its first newsprint edition and many more in a more conventional trade format, touching off an interest in self-care and health activism. “Through politicizing the female body,” Morris and Withers note, “the women’s movement constructed new political and territorial boundaries.” Other pathways to liberation included lesbian collectives, women’s publishing houses and book fairs, publications such as the pioneering Ms. magazine, music, and performance art. Later allied movements included women’s campaigns against nuclear weaponry, for equal pay, and the like. The authors note ongoing concerns among post–second wave activists, including “slut shaming” and access to information.

Essential for students of women’s rights and popular political movements in the modern era and an inspiration for future actions.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58834-612-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Smithsonian Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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