Excerpts from 35 journals and diaries, some famous, some less so, all providing astonishing insight into the inner lives of women. The editors posit the diary as a unique form of self-expression, often the only one available to women. The women whose thoughts are recorded here include Louisa May Alcott; Anne Frank; Hannah Senesh, the Palestinian resistance worker executed by the Nazis; Anna Dostoevsky, wife of the great novelist; Dorothy Wordsworth, William's sister; Fanny Kemble; Carolina Maria de Jesus, the black Brazilian woman whose writings had an enormous impact in Latin America a few years back; the remarkable German artist of the Weimar Republic, Kathe Kollwitz; and a score of others. Love and work and the tension between them is an often repeated theme, and one is confronted again and again with the difficulty these women experienced in living up to social conventions and feminine stereotypes. Though they come from societies as different as the ante-bellum South, Tzarist Russia, Nazi Germany and 19th century Japan, their dreams and frustrations are expressed in the most accessible, immediate and affecting way -- and can hardly fail to evoke a powerful sense of sisterhood.