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American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 26, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060566353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060566357
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,642,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Texas senator Hutchison looks at pioneering women from the 19th century to the present in this compellingly themed but ungainly mix of social history, thumbnail biography and personal recollection. Beginning with a short but dense recounting of the life of Mary Austin Holley, whose 1833 book about Texas is credited with drawing new settlers to the area, Hutchison moves forward to consider other "Pioneers and Preservationists," most of whom will be of interest primarily to Texans. The collection becomes more appealing as Hutchison widens her focus. Her "Education for Everyone" chapter sees a discussion of the women's higher education advocate Emma Willard (1797–1870) followed by a brief interview with Lynne Cheney (on the most important trait for success: "Stick-to-it-iveness"). "A Woman's Art" highlights historical heroines Mary Cassatt, singer Marian Anderson and Latina perfomers like Dolores Del Rio, while "Public Lives, Public Service" praises Geraldine Ferraro and Sandra Day O'Connor as leaders of today. Other public figures Hutchison interviews include Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Cokie Roberts and Barbara Walters, each offering morsels of personal experience and familiar but uplifting advice. It's Hutchison's personal vignettes that suffer in this arrangement, as she seems to insert them whenever there's an associative connection. Her story is certainly interesting enough to warrant more time. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

An interesting blend of biography, history, and personal memoir, U.S. senator Hutchinson's book profiles pioneering American women past and present. Hutchinson mixes tales of such well-known women as Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, and Mary Cassatt with resourceful women from her own lineage and life, like Anna Marie Long, who fled Texas with her four children in an attempt to escape hostile Indian tribes, and one of her early bosses, Oveta Culp Hobby, who worked as an advisor in the War Department during World War II and later joined Eisenhower's cabinet. In between her portraits of historical heroines, Hutchinson presents interviews with modern ones, including such influential women as astronaut Sally Ride, former secretary of state Madeline Albright, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and newswomen Barbara Walters and Cokie Roberts. Hutchinson asks the women what helped them achieve success, what obstacles stood in their way, and what advice they have for young women today. Their answers and Hutchinson's lively, personal writing makes this an accessible and important volume. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

It was an excellent book about the Women who shaped our country.
S. Butsch
The book reads like a collection of short stories, so it's perfect for the reader-on-the go.
Emily K
Also, unless you REALLY like Texas, do not bother either buying or reading this book.
Sharon Yoder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emily K on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Traversing the diverse footprints of America's influential women seems a daunting order for one book. American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country by United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison navigates the lives and accomplishments of America's remarkable women, spanning from Mary Austin Holley to Sandra Day O'Connor and Amelia Earhart to Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The book reads like a collection of short stories, so it's perfect for the reader-on-the go. Read a chapter an evening, and be enlightened by a brief biography of an influential American woman, then commentary on the significance of her historical impact. Hutchison keeps the narrative light and lively, and she infuses the biography with her perspective on her subjects' lasting contribution.

Diversity of subject strengthens this book. Senator Hutchinson groups the chapters into similar sections, such as "Pioneers and Preservationists," "Education for Everyone," "Conquering the Skies," and "Public Lives, Public Service." While Hutchinson is a political conservative, her biographical praise crosses back and forth across the ideological aisle - she gives equal admiration to Geraldine Ferraro and Madeline Albright as she does to Elizabeth Dole and Condoleezza Rice. And, her esteem reaches beyond politics. She commends healthcare pioneer Clara Barton, astronaut Sally Ride, and artist Mary Cassatt.

The colloquial writing proves a little distracting. One more word-cutting and cleaning edit would have improved the work. However, Hutchinson voice is the book's finest attribute, and that remains clear throughout the biographies. Her admiring observations provide a personal touch to the history. An extraordinary woman herself, Hutchinson is the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By alex1451 on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Senator Hutchison is a woman who has risen above stereotypes to become the first woman in Texas elected to the Senate. That says a lot in a land where men still open doors for women and call women "ma'am" or "miss" even though you may be a complete stranger. Put aside your political beliefs and you will have a book highlighting women who conquered the "glass ceiling" despite what was the norm of the times. These women may be from Timbuktu for all we know, but they are women whom our daughters can learn how to reach beyond gender stereotypes. Of course Senator Hutchison will include more women from Texas than from elsewhere, she grew up in Texas. These are women who influenced her and helped her achieve the "first" status as well. Again, putting aside politics, this book is a good book on the power of women who can rise despite criticism and social norms.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TOM CHASTAIN on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING BOOKS OF ITS KIND THAT I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME."AMERICAN HEROINES" IS A VERY SPECIAL BOOK AND REALLY SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING IN MOST HIGH SCHOOLS SO MOST STUDENTS CAN GET TO KNOW WHAT GREAT DEEDS THESE WONDERFUL WOMEN PERFORMED TO SHAPE AND MOLD THIS GREAT NATION OF OURS. UP UNTIL NOW ALOT OF THESE WOMEN AND THE GREAT THINGS THEY HAVE DONE HAVE GONE UNOTICED BUT SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISONS BOOK "AMERICAN HEROINES" HAS GIVEN A NEW LIGHT TO ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL WOMEN AND WHAT GREAT THINGS THEY DID. IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A GREAT GIFT FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL:A FRIEND, FAMILY MEMBER, A SOLDIER SERVERING OVER SEAS THEAN GET THEM "AMERICAN HEROINES" BY KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON IT WOULD MAKE A PERFECT GIFT FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE. AND WHO EVER YOU GIVE THIS BOOK TO THEY CAN LEARN ABOUT SOME VERY SPIRITED PEOPLE HELPED SHAPED THIS GREAT COUNTRY.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Reid on January 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Think of this book as more of a reference book than a cover-to-cover read. The book is made up of the heart-warming life stories of a collection of famous women in America. The book's index is available on Amazon where you can find all of the women who are covered in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Butsch on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would reccomend this book to anyone. It was an excellent book about the Women who shaped our country. I enjoyed the book very much. I heard the author, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, being interviewed on our local PBS radio station about it. I immediately went to amazon.com and ordered the book. I am so glad I tuned into the PBS radio statuion that day.
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By Shirley Brosius on February 7, 2011
Format: Library Binding
Firsts. That's what this book is about. Women who faced the challenge to use their talents and skills to gain offices and honors that had never before been attained by a woman.

The first native-born American to be canonized (Elizabeth Seton); the first woman publisher (Elizabeth Palmer Peabody); the first woman to gain international recognition as a major artist (Mary Cassatt); the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress (Margaret Chase Smith); the first African American to serve as National Security Advisor (Condoleezza Rice); the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (Marguerite Higgins). Those are just some of the firsts you meet on these pages.

Other heroines excelled in sports, broke color barriers or became known in music, nursing and government. By building on the stories of past heroines with interviews with women today, the reader learns what characteristics shaped these women into the heroines they have become and the qualities that made them great. The book includes an index and a section of suggested reading in case you want to know more about any particular heroine. A worthwhile read.
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