Although the outcome of the Tennessee drama is obvious—after all, we all know the amendment was ratified—Weiss expertly...

READ REVIEW

THE WOMAN'S HOUR

THE LAST FURIOUS FIGHT TO WIN THE VOTE

A history of the political battle in Tennessee in 1920 over the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The approval by the Tennessee legislature would meet the requisite number of states to provide women the vote in all elections. The efforts by women—and plenty of men—to secure universal suffrage date back to the beginning of the Republic, and journalist Weiss (Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, 2008) weaves useful historical context throughout the book. But the tight focus on a few weeks in Nashville makes for a compelling narrative, marred only by an overabundance of detail about the many battles between the suffragists and their opponents. What strengthens the narrative are the author’s minibiographies of primary characters in this “furious campaign”—Carrie Chapman Catt (“it was [her] job—more precisely, her life’s mission—to guide American women to the promised land of political freedom”), Alice Paul, Josephine Pearson, and Presidents Warren G. Harding and Woodrow Wilson—as well as of the less-well-known players (mostly Tennessee politicians and lobbyists). Pearson is the most visible of the women who opposed suffrage, believing that it posed a danger “to the American family, white supremacy, states’ rights, and cherished southern traditions.” Perhaps the most famous of the anti-suffragists was muckraking journalist Ida Tarbell, whom Weiss chronicles briefly. The author clearly explains how the opposition by women—a stance that will surprise some modern readers—derived partly from their desire to be sheltered from politics, partly from the negative influence of men in their lives, and partly from racism (providing ballots to white women would open the floodgates of black women voters).

Although the outcome of the Tennessee drama is obvious—after all, we all know the amendment was ratified—Weiss expertly builds the suspense, and the closeness of the eventual vote by the Tennessee legislature adds to the drama.

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42972-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more