THE RIGHT WOMEN by Elinor Burkett


A Journey Through the Heart of Conservative America
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 A carefully researched and cool-headed study of the women of the political right, freed here from their image as meek followers of militant men. Although she considered herself a liberal and a feminist, journalist Burkett (coauthor, A Gospel of Shame, 1993) was both startled by the feistiness of the conservative women elected to Congress in the 1994 right-wing sweep and troubled by what seemed to be a doctrinaire arrogance on the part of familiar feminist writers and leaders like Susan Faludi and Gloria Steinem. So Burkett spent two years talking to women of the right, and she discovered some fascinating figures. There is, for instance, the outspoken Helen Chenowith of Idaho, who is against both gun and environmental control, and who was elected to the House of Representatives on these issues--and on the strength of her history as a single mother who carved out several careers for herself en route to Congress. Across the country, political activists show extraordinary talent for grass-roots organizing, launching the Kitchen Militia via E-mail and fax, and the Concerned Women of America, which now has a budget of $10 million and 600,000 members. There are deft sketches, as well, of women who espouse Islam, covering their bodies from head to toe at the same time as they pursue graduate degrees in demanding fields, and of fervent advocates of home schooling. Eloquent also are the tales of entrepreneurs who have turned to the right in protest against the interference of the federal government in their business lives. Two points become clear as Burkett's journey progresses: The women of the right have benefited greatly from the feminist movement, and they refuse to be put in an ideological box--their strongly held beliefs are their own. A carefully focused portrait that shows that all women may be sisters, but that even sisters have fundamental and legitimate differences.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-83308-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1998


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