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Betty Friedan and the Making of "The Feminine Mystique": The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism (Culture, Politics and the Cold War) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1558492769 ISBN-10: 1558492763

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture, Politics, and the Cold War
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Pr (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558492763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558492769
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Betty Friedan and the Making of "The Feminine Mystique" is ... intelligently ambitious but so tendentious you want to throw it across the room. -- The New York Times Book Review, Judith Shulevitz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peter W. Sage on January 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this very readable book, Daniel Horowitz examines Betty Friedan's political and intellectual origins and finds good reason to question the widely held understanding that The Feminine Mystique was written out of the perspective and consciousness of a typical surburban housewife.
Professor Horowitz explores the life and thought of the young Bettye Goldstein as an undergraduate at Smith, and then as a labor journalist in the early and mid 1940's, and reveals her origins as a committed social critic and advocate with labor-left origins.
Professor Horowitz treats his subject gently and with respect. Betty Friedan disagrees with Horowitz's analysis, and this tension adds to the fun.
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19 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on April 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
In a clear-eyed yet obviously compassionate examination of Betty Friedan, the "mother" of modern American feminism,Horowitz reveals that his subject was far more worldly and politically concious than she indicated in her 1963 ground breaker.
Although some of today's generation-- whether feminists or not--may scratch heads and wonder why an intellegent articulate woman would intentionally disguise so much of her being while urging other women not to do the same, Friedan had no choice. In a nation somewhat tempered by fresh reccollection of the horrors of McCarthyism, red-baiting and subsequent discreditation of those tarred with the label still ran rampant.
Understanding that her grim findings would never receive the light of day in a culture still gushy-eyed over the assumption that every housewife was automatically happy or that option was the only choice for women, she had to employ crafty PR strategies to make the book appealing for original publication and promotion. Her "new idenity" made her a far more appealing media source than a "radical labor activist" since it allowed her to avoid being blamed for her own stigmatization as one of those supposedly unnatural career women whose unhappiness must be self-inflicted.
As a member of third-wave feminism, I profess to having little initial interest in Friedan or her methodology. Because I lived in a world where with comparatively many more choices/rights, was aware of her own internal predjuduces towards intra-feminist movement diversity and antagonism towards Gloria Steinem, I usually wrote off Friedan as an anachronism who although important, was somebody I could not relate to directly. Since I was not married and was childless, I could not see myself in the pages.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By john thames on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique" is the definitive proof that "Mommie Was a Commie". Most American women would not care to admit that they were brainwashed by a Jewish Mamma who was a devotee of Joseph Stalin - but the fact is that they were. Horowitz himself admits in his introduction that he was hesitant to disclose the results of his research. The right wing would pounce on it, Joseph McCarthy style, to proclaim: "Women's lib is a Communist plot!" He need not have worried. The American right has moved so far leftward that his disclosues have prompted not the slightest rethinking by women.

Had Friedan's Communist background been divulged when the book first appeared it might have had a devastating impact. Today, it elicits as much a response as telling the reader of mystery novels that Rex Stout, the author, was the the editor and part owner of the Communist "New Masses" newspaper.That Friedan was a Communist is self-evident. She was a member of the Congress of American Women, the chief Communist legal front for females (acronymn: COW). She was also a writer for the United Electrical, Radio and Machinists Union, the chief Communist union in the U.S. Betty would not even tell poor Mr. Horowitz the true extent of her Communist collaboration, even though he was deeply sympathetic.

Ah, well. One can only document the subversion of America, not reverse it.Enjoy, Dear Reader, and learn, once again, how you have been conned.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By anarchteacher on April 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Founding mother of the Women's Liberation Movement, Betty Friedan, author of the Feminine Mystique, was a long-time CPUSA apparatchik and never the typical suburban bourgeois housewife she posed as.
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