Abundantly useful for aspiring scholars, while those with a casual interest in the subject will be struck by its surprising...

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THE WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT

Primary documents provide insight into the struggles within the women's suffrage movement in the United States up until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Historian Wagner (Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influences on Early American Feminists, 2001, etc.) opens with a chapter about the key role of women in the Iroquois Confederacy in upstate New York before the United States became a nation. “Unlike almost every other historian,” writes Gloria Steinem in the foreword, “[Wagner] doesn’t treat this country as if it began with Columbus.” Wagner then moves on to discuss the development of the women's suffrage movement in the decades before the first national women's rights convention in 1850. Covering the years from the 1850s to 1920, the editor devotes a chapter to the events of each decade. An introduction to each chapter provides a generous amount of historical context, which brings the implications of the primary documents—some of which are included in full and others of which are excerpted—into focus. These documents include speeches at women's rights conventions and to the general public, and they reveal the striking tensions between various factions of the movement as well as their commonalities. Wagner broadens her subject to include not just discussions of women's suffrage, but also birth control, “free love,” divorce, and women's economic and social rights. The structure of the volume makes clear the protracted nature of the struggle and how many now-little-known individuals were involved in it in addition to famous figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Wagner never hesitates to point out the flaws in her subjects and the movement, notable among which is the fact that the “suffragists,” as they called themselves, were often casually or even intentionally racist, arguing that educated white women were more deserving of political power than ex-slaves.

Abundantly useful for aspiring scholars, while those with a casual interest in the subject will be struck by its surprising complexity.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313243-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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