Required reading for classes in women’s studies.

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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