A fine biography, both enlightening and entertaining, on a critical topic.

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SUSAN B. ANTHONY

From the The Making of America series , Vol. 4

Susan B. Anthony was among the earliest proponents of women’s rights and devoted most of her life to the cause.

In an in-depth biography of this important historical figure, Kanefield relies heavily on primary-source materials, especially Anthony’s own revealing words. Born to a Quaker father and a mother who refused to join the religion, Anthony was encouraged in childhood to be strong-willed. Once she became involved in furthering women’s very limited rights, she’d need every bit of that will, often speaking before hostile crowds at a time when women were expected to remain within their own sphere, managing a household and raising children. Gaining women the right to vote was always the ultimate goal, but Anthony also campaigned for married women to be able to own property and to leave abusive husbands. In her lifetime she saw remarkable advances in women’s rights although she died before the movement achieved its final goal. Anthony presciently predicted that one day women would be unaware that they hadn’t always had freedom and rights. “They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past,” an unfortunate ignorance that this biography helps correct. The excellent backmatter includes notes, a timeline, excerpts from Anthony’s writing, a bibliography, and an index (the last not seen).

A fine biography, both enlightening and entertaining, on a critical topic. (Biography. 11-16)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3401-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations.

GROUNDBREAKING GUYS

40 MEN WHO BECAME GREAT BY DOING GOOD

Single-page profiles of men who were guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities, demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52941-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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