An authoritative, brisk, and sharply drawn history.

SUFFRAGE

WOMEN'S LONG BATTLE FOR THE VOTE

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which finally recognized women as participants in democracy, historian DuBois (History/UCLA; co-author: Through Women’s Eyes: An American History With Documents, 2018, etc.) offers a lively, deeply researched history of the struggle for suffrage.

From 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a women’s meeting in Seneca Falls, New York, to Aug. 26, 1920, the official date of ratification, the political and social climate of the nation changed, as did the suffragists’ leadership, membership, and strategies. “The Declaration of Sentiments,” issued at Seneca Falls, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, attested to women’s “social and religious degradation” and deprivation of legal, civil, and economic rights. Nearly 30 years later, at the nation’s centennial celebration, Susan B. Anthony, Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, representing the National Women’s Suffrage Association, issued an even stronger statement, the “Declaration of the Rights of the Women of the United States,” enumerating the “Articles of Impeachment,” the major injustices—such as the right of trial by a jury of one’s peers—resulting from disenfranchisement. By 1876, suffragists had been so thwarted in achieving a constitutional amendment that they decided to work state by state, succeeding first in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah; by 1911 in Nevada and Arizona; and by 1914 in Oregon and Montana. In 1917, Montana voters made Jeannette Rankin the first woman seated in Congress. DuBois animates her well-populated history with vivid portraits: Victoria Woodhull, “the most scandalous, disruptive, and transformative figure to enter the suffrage ranks”; “society queen” Alva Belmont, whose largesse funded much suffrage work in the early 1900s; beautiful young pacifist Inez Milholland Boissevain, whose death, at age 30, elevated her to martyrdom; and the defiant Alice Paul, whose prison hunger strike brought wide attention to the suffragists’ tenacious fight against virulent opposition from “conservative clergy, stubborn congressmen, nasty newspaper coverage, and the many women who feared venturing beyond their homes.”

An authoritative, brisk, and sharply drawn history.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6516-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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