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AMERICAN WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE

VOICES FROM THE LONG STRUGGLE FOR THE VOTE 1776-1965

An unusually diverse mix of top-down and bottom-up views of the fight for votes for women.

Rotten eggs, jail terms, and ridicule were among the hazards faced by suffragists, according to a compendium from the general editor of American National Biography.

Amid the flood of books marking the centennial of women’s suffrage, this anthology stands out for its scope and authority. In a season sure to bring paeans to movement foremothers, Ware deromanticizes their fight by gathering 90 pro-, anti-, or proto-suffrage documents—articles, speeches, pamphlets, and other nonfiction along with a few poems and humorous sketches and a play by Charlotte Perkins Gilman—all written or delivered between 1776 and the months after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many entries reveal tactical or ideological conflicts among leaders like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Lucy Stone, none more fateful than whether to try to enfranchise women state by state or push for the federal law that became the 19th Amendment. Other pieces give voice to the rank and file, to men, and to American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, and Chinese immigrants. With endearing good cheer, the Massachusetts suffragist Florence Luscomb describes traveling around her state by trolley, toting a 6-foot banner inscribed “Votes for Women,” only to arrive in a country town and end up “talking to the air, three assorted dogs, six kids, and the two loafers in front of the grocery store just over the way.” The most startling item comes from the Mississippi suffragist Belle Kearney, who—with no apparent shame—urged Southerners to support women’s suffrage because it would ensure “immediate and durable white supremacy,” given that educated white female voters would outnumber “all the illiterate voters, white and black, native and foreign—combined.” Some entries have more historical than literary or human interest, but this is essential for libraries and a go-to book for anyone seriously interested in women’s suffrage in America.

An unusually diverse mix of top-down and bottom-up views of the fight for votes for women.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59853-664-5

Page Count: 780

Publisher: Library of America

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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