An essential work for anyone interested in the early days of abolitionism and the women’s movement in North America. (15...



A lively anthology tracing the emergence of the women’s-rights movement in the US during the turbulent antebellum period.

Sklar (History/SUNY Binghamton) provides a lengthy introductory essay tracing with vigor and clarity the manner in which, beginning in the 1830s, white and black women in the North began to become active in the abolitionist cause, inspired in many cases by the religious revivals sweeping the nation. While women in the movement at first focused their efforts upon emancipation, the intense criticism that greeted their activities gradually pushed some of them toward an advocacy of women’s rights as well. They discovered that they first had to defend their right to speak at all in a society in which women were expected to restrict their activities to a purely domestic sphere. At the forefront in articulating women’s right to speak and act on moral and political issues were Angelina and Sarah Grimke, the courageous daughters of a Southern slaveowner. During their influential speaking tour in 1837, the eloquent Grimkes asserted that they pleaded “not the cause of the slave only” but also “the cause of woman as a responsible moral being.” Their lectures served both to stimulate support for the abolitionist cause and to encourage other women to begin speaking about rights and responsibilities. It also aroused discomfort among some male abolitionists, concerned that arguments over women’s rights would diffuse moral outrage over slavery. There was, Sarah Grimke argued in a letter to a male colleague, no going back. “To close the doors now . . . would be a violation of our fundamental principle that man and woman are created equal and have the same duties and the same responsibilities as moral beings.” The 54 pieces collected here trace the gradual development of ideas about women’s rights, beginning with Angelina and Sarah, the growing tension that resulted, and the articulation of a separate women’s-rights movement in the early 1840s. The concluding section traces the gradual separation of the women’s movement from abolitionism in the 1850s.

An essential work for anyone interested in the early days of abolitionism and the women’s movement in North America. (15 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 18, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-22819-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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...


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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