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Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"A passionate, visionary and very personal account.”—New York Times Book Review

“Superb.... Big Girls Don’t Cry is much more than an assemblage of these type of ‘boys on the bus’ campaign anecdotes. As anyone who’s followed Traister’s sharp and lively essays in Salon knows, her particular ‘beat’ is gender. What she does here is tease out the cultural narratives that came to wield so much power during the [2008 presidential] campaign and, finally, in the voting booth.... There’s so much…to be learned and argued over in Big Girls Don’t Cry…. Girls, these days, can not only run for president; they can also brilliantly analyze presidential campaigns, too.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“I ended up admiring Traister and loving her book. In its best parts, it is a raw and brave memoir of a journalist who discovered that all is not well for women in America, and a description of how she and other young women are laying claim to their rightful place in the fight. . . . Such a youthful embrace of the women’s work yet to be done is exhilarating—for her generation and for mine.”—Connie Schultz, The Washington Post

“Traister's book masterfully reminds us that we have just lived through a historic moment when a woman, no matter how flawed she was, ‘came within spitting distance,’ of a nomination for president.” —

“Rebecca Traister is the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country. I was totally caught up in Big Girls Don’t Cry from the first page, and couldn't believe how much Ms. Traister captured and illuminated a story with which I had thought I was so well versed: the 2008 election. She told it as if for the first time.” —Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

“Traister is a clear-eyed, whip-smart observer of the political scene, alert to the resurgence of identity politics as well as the recrudescence of feminism that marked the most recent presidential campaign. She has fashioned a remarkably engrossing page-turner of a cultural narrative, one which features outsize characters and unpredictable plot twists. Big Girls Don't Cry is a report on the 2008 election but more importantly it is a report on the way we think now. If you want to understand where we are going as an electoral entity—why Sarah Palin is the folk heroine du jour and why Michelle Obama has domesticated her free-thinking persona—read this book.” —Daphne Merkin, novelist and critic

“The startling intelligence and graceful prose of Rebecca Traister’s coverage of American cultural politics has been one of journalism’s best kept secrets during the past decade. With Big Girls Don’t Cry, she claims her place as heir to the tradition of Mary McCarthy and Joan Didion as she excavates the tectonic changes that lurked below the surface of most election reporting and illuminates events in a manner that will surprise political junkies and casual observers alike.” —Eric Alterman, author of Why We’re Liberals

“In this riveting account of the 2008 election, Rebecca Traister negotiates the shoals of race and gender with exceptional grace and skill and establishes herself as one of the major younger journalists working today.” —Katha Pollitt, poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation

“Rebecca Traister’s lively, insightful narrative discloses an under-reported layer of the 2008 presidential campaign—and in so doing makes the subject fresh and vital again. An important and disquieting book, but also a pleasure to read.” —Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain

“I didn't know what I didn't know about the 2008 election until reading Rebecca Traister’s smart, entertaining take on it. Well-researched, well-written, provocative, and insightful, BGDC is a high-spirited salute to feminism in its many forms.” —Curtis Sittenfeld, author of American Wife

About the Author

Rebecca Traister is senior writer for Salon, where she has written about women in politics, media, and entertainment since 2003, and where she covered the 2008 presidential campaign from a feminist perspective. She has also written for Elle, the Nation, the New York Observer, Vogue and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439150281
  • ASIN: B004KAB302
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,609,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Stone on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who were actively involved in the 2008 election, this book is a must read. One may not agree with Ms Traister's take on it but will marvel at her wit and unique insight, especially when speaking of the immense pressure felt uniquely by woman. As someone who is still fairly "bitter" about what happened to the first extraordinarily qualified woman to run for President, I laughed, cried and fumed as I turned the page. From "You're nice enough" to a "thrill running up my leg" comments and the inept Clinton campaign management, my personal memories were jarred and reawakened reminding me that perhaps we haven't come that long a way baby.
As one who was forever changed by the election, I look forward to the discussion which should be started by this book. Unfortunately, as a woman, this book by Rebecca Traister might not receive the same hoopla by the media that accompanied "Game Change" as I fear- we really haven't come that long a way-hope I'm wrong on this one.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Presidential campaigns have always been one part spectator sport and one part democracy in action. Participate if you want, but don't expect anything to change. But 2008 took more out of us than previous campaigns. It was exhausting on a whole new level. Even the stoics among us were in such a weakened condition by election day that we were all crying, with joy that America had elected a black president, with frustration that so many things had been said and done that could never be taken back, with relief that the marathon was over.

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I have already read a couple of the behind-the-scenes accounts of the election (Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, Renegade: The Making of a President), which were interesting, but ultimately forgettable. Reading Big Girls Don't Cry brought back the most infuriating moments of the year leading up to the election. This isn't the just story of the candidates, it's the story of how the 2008 campaign brought out the still-raw feelings of the women's movement. It's about how on one hand, women are more influential and powerful than we have ever been, but on the other hand, women hold only about 17% of the seats in the House and Senate.

Rebecca Traister recounts that many of her thirty-ish friends who assumed their lefty boyfriends were progressive, found them to be about as traditional as their grandfathers when it came to women's issues. It was a bit unsettling to read that Obama has a habit of calling women reporters "sweetie.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A riveting recap of the full-of-surprises 2008 election, including the inexplicably harsh treatment Hillary Clinton received from even the liberal media, especially the boys at MSNBC.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stacey on December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just finished listening to the edition of Big Girls Don't Cry by Rebecca Traister on a cross country road trip. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Traister, a writer for, lays out an insightful and thorough examination of the 2008 election campaign and what it meant for feminism, sexism, and women in this country. As a 40 year old woman who sits somewhere between the Gloria Steinem/2nd Wave feminist generation and the 20-something blogosphere feminism, I found that Traister's observations as well as the those of the many influential women she interviewed echoed many of my own. There were times when I felt like I was re-living the anger and disappointment raised by the Clinton and Palin campaigns. Even more enraging was the media treatment of both women which is carefully and chronologically documented in the book through excerpts, quotes, and historical context.

My political involvement during the 2008 election was limited to listening to NPR and watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. So, I was fairly insulated from the worst of the media sexism and stupidity. This book reminded me that I still need to be paying attention. When we pay attention, we speak out, and that is one thing which wasn't happening enough in 2008.

If there is one thing that I didn't love about this book - it was Traister's occasionally long-winded observations of her own emotional state during the campaign. While I appreciate that sexism, racism and politics are emotional as well as intellectual, and I often felt the same way she did, I enjoyed the concrete examples and historical context much more. Not really a criticism... but an acknowledgement that this book is about a woman's own personal political journey as well as a nation's.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ceit on November 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rebecca Traister has really hit home in this book. Traister writes a fantastic account of the 2008 election and why Hillary couldn't win. Unlike Traister I was a Hillary supporter from the start, and still am. I am very proud that she ran, she not only ran, but she ran until she gave her delegates to Obama at the DNC. She didn't give up, just because she was told to, she didn't give up after sexist remarks, she didn't give up because it was expected of her, and she was in it until the end.

Traister writes in her book that she didn't want to vote for Hillary just because she was a woman. But after reading the book I wonder if woman didn't vote for her because Hillary didn't add up to the idealized woman that some feminist wanted?

Traister writes and honest look at her own turn from an Edwards supporter to a Hillary supporter.
She describes the blatant t sexism, not only where woman expect it, but from they weren't expecting it, most notably progressive men's descriptions and outright hate for Hillary.

This book is a must read for any political junkie, or those who care about gender issues in this country. I would like to send this book to several male politicians out there.

Traister said one thing that I agree with, we shouldn't vote for a woman just because she is a woman, but we should consider why we are voting for her.

There were some places that I disagreed with her but overall I liked this book.
Women have come a long way but there still needs to be more work.
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