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Fertile Ground, Narrow Choices: Women on Texas Cotton Farms, 1900-1940 (Studies in Rural Culture) Paperback – March 1, 1999
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A richly detailed story of women's lives and labor under the despotic rule of King Cotton in early-twentieth-century Texas. . . . Because Sharpless allows her subjects' stories to unfold for the reader just as they were told to her, including occasional digressions and unfinished thoughts, we hear the women's voices. Seldom heard then or now, they offer a haunting and memorable tale.--Journal of Women's History
Sharpless recreates in meticulous detail (with more than 1200 footnotes) women's day-to-day lives. . . . This book is unsurpassed as a scholarly source for understanding how farm women got their tasks done in the era before widespread mechanization of agriculture. . . . A valuable and informative resource for all scholars in women's history, rural history, and the history of Texas.--American Historical Review
[This book] brings to the fore a group that has not been studied adequately by scholars of rural women or southern history. Sharpless makes excellent use of oral histories to describe the shared poverty and hard labor of these women. . . . A useful and necessary contribution.--Journal of American History
Drawing upon oral histories and more traditional sources to tell the little-known or -understood story of women in Texas cotton culture, Rebecca Sharpless paints a large canvas of rural southern poverty, relentless toil, racism, and gendered constraints. Best of all, one hears the proud voices of the women themselves throughout this impressive narrative.--Neil Foley, University of Texas at Austin