Required reading for classes in women’s studies.

THEY DIDN'T SEE US COMING

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF FEMINISM IN THE NINETIES

An authoritative account of how the feminist movement evolved during the 1990s and beyond.

Levenstein, the director of the women’s, gender, and sexuality program at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, has long been keeping a close watch on the feminist movement in both scholarly journals and the popular press. In this follow-up to her first book, A Movement Without Marches, the author begins in 1995, with the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, where white middle- and upper-middle-class American women, accustomed to being viewed as the leaders of the feminist movement, bumped into women from around the world with important ideas and agendas of their own: women of color, older women, environmentalists, and peace activists. From interviews with dozens of women, the author creates a sharp portrait of the attitudes and techniques of feminist leaders forging global networks to tackle problems such as violence against women, reproductive issues, poverty, racism, discrimination of all varieties, and even climate change. “Throughout the 1990s,” she writes, “activists fiercely debated who feminism should represent and what strategies it should employ. Such disagreements proliferated not because feminism lost its way but because so many different people increasingly felt invested in shaping the movement.” Levenstein’s discussion of the multifaceted battle over welfare is especially revealing while her miniprofiles and her conversations with activists allow readers to see them growing into their roles and trying to figure out the best direction for their future actions. The author shows how feminism greatly expanded its realm of influence and makes clear how the internet provided necessary tools—e.g., Twitter, Facebook—for groups to connect with others, arouse public interest in an issue, change opinions, and raise funds. Levenstein successfully combines well-documented research with personal observations and interviews to create an accessible and informative narrative.

Required reading for classes in women’s studies.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-465-09528-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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