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RADICAL RED by James Duffy


by James Duffy

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1993
ISBN: 0-684-19533-X
Publisher: Scribner

The New York legislature is about to vote on woman suffrage. When Connor O'Shea, 12, is offered a pamphlet by a Susan B. Anthony colleague, her illiterate father (policeman, drinking crony of Senator Phelan's, and relentless enemy of the cause) threatens to strap her if she traffics with ``crazy women.'' Nonetheless, Connor and her mother Nora volunteer to help the women (including Anthony herself) congregated at Bertha Hall's mansion to get out the word and organize peaceful protests. When ``Da'' finds out and brutally beats them both, they escape to Bertha's home, where (if Da doesn't pursue them, as is his legal right) Nora will have the job of housekeeper. Duffy smoothly incorporates a lot of social history into this rather old- fashioned story, especially concerning women's vocational choices and educational opportunities in 1894, the suffragists camaraderie and persistence, despite the men's unfair tactics and their affection for ``Aunt Susan,'' and the status of Irish immigrants. With a mix of fictional and historical characters, the absence of an explanatory note is a real lack. Still, a credible portrayal of the period in a story eventful enough to hold readers. (Fiction. 10-13)