A vivid look at the life and times of a little-known pioneer of women’s rights.

THE WOMAN THEY COULD NOT SILENCE

ONE WOMAN, HER INCREDIBLE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, AND THE MEN WHO TRIED TO MAKE HER DISAPPEAR

The author of The Radium Girls returns with an inspiring story of the tireless 19th-century woman who fought against gender-based injustices.

The titular woman is Elizabeth Packard (1816-1897), an Illinois mother of six who took on the legal system after she was involuntarily committed to the Jacksonville Insane Asylum in 1860 by her husband’s request. Elizabeth and her husband, Theophilus, 15 years her senior, initially appeared to have a typical marriage for a mid-19th-century American couple. That all changed as Theophilus, a minister, increasingly saw his wife’s outspoken support of women’s rights as a threat. As Moore demonstrates, while he had “long been in the habit of trying to control” his wife, Theophilus became more concerned when she began to offer more liberal opinions on theology, abolition, and the role of women to parishioners at his church. That led to an ominous threat from husband to wife: “I shall put you into the asylum!” Moore details Elizabeth’s three-year involuntary confinement and the sexist system that allowed husbands to have their wives declared insane without a diagnosis or legal hearing. Despite inhumane conditions, Elizabeth was determined to be declared sane and to become an advocate for women and the mentally ill through her own writings and advocacy. The trial in which she fought to be declared mentally fit was a media sensation, and though she prevailed, “she was now homeless. Penniless. Childless. All she had to her name were the clothes she stood up in and a manuscript she’d been repeatedly told would never see the light of day.” Drawing on sources like letters, memoirs, and trial transcripts, Moore’s well-researched book paints a clear picture of the obstacles Elizabeth faced both during and after her confinement and the cruel resoluteness of both her husband and doctor, who tried to control her at all costs.

A vivid look at the life and times of a little-known pioneer of women’s rights.

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9672-8

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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