Brings to life a complex woman whose place in the history of women’s rights has been somewhat overshadowed by that of her...

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON

AN AMERICAN LIFE

A well-documented, well-balanced account of the life of “the founding philosopher of the American movement for woman’s rights.”

Ginzberg (History and Women’s Studies/Penn State Univ.; Untidy Origins: A Story of Woman’s Rights in Antebellum New York, 2005, etc.) offers a full-length portrait of a brilliant, confident, assertive woman for whom raising seven children was no bar to remarkable activism in the cause of women’s rights. The author shows us Stanton in her many roles: child, wife, mother, author and campaigner. At the International Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840, Stanton was outraged to discover that women were not allowed to participate. Eight years later, in Seneca Falls, N.Y., she helped organize the first women's-rights convention. Stanton drafted the convention’s Declaration of Sentiments, which was modeled on the United States Declaration of Independence and proclaimed that men and women are created equal. For years she and Susan B. Anthony collaborated, with Stanton primarily writing and Anthony traveling and speaking. After the Civil War, the two women broke with their former colleagues, the abolitionists, and lobbied against granting African-American men the right to vote, with Stanton arguing that the votes of educated women were needed to offset those of former slaves. Ginzberg notes that the image this created of the woman’s suffrage movement as primarily concerned with the rights of middle-class white women was not entirely false. When her children were older, Stanton traveled extensively on the lecture circuit, where she campaigned vigorously for the property rights of married women, for equal guardianship of children and for liberalized divorce laws. Deploring the position of women within organized Christianity, she wrote The Woman’s Bible to correct the sexism she found in scripture. Despite her flaws of elitism and racism, Stanton, Ginzberg argues, used her powerful intellect and her persuasive prose to challenge the nation to see women as full citizens.

Brings to life a complex woman whose place in the history of women’s rights has been somewhat overshadowed by that of her colleague Susan B. Anthony.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8090-9493-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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