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Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How to Use It Paperback – September 20, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (September 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449909514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449909515
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,300,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Feminist author of the bestselling The Beauty Myth , Wolf has written an empowering, impassioned manifesto that points the way toward a flexible feminism for the 1990s and beyond. Part political analysis, part psychological manual, part activist handbook, the book argues that women should renounce "victim feminism," which casts them as sexually pure, fragile, beleaguered creatures whose problems are all the fault of men. As an alternative, Wolf outlines an anti-dogmatic "power feminism" which sees women as no better and no worse than men, celebrates female sexuality and encourages women to claim their individual voices through a variety of tactics. These include "resource groups" for sharing contacts and increasing access to information and services; consumer campaigns; and pressure on the media to alter their portrayals of women. Wolf theorizes that little girls, as much as boys, have fantasies of absolute dominion but learn to repress their "will to power" at a very early age. Wolf here sketches a psychological road map designed to help women deal with their ambivalence about success, power, equality and money. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Naomi Wolf presents a powerful look at the changes in the feminist movement and the continuing search for equality. She discusses changes brought about by Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas; President Clinton's campaign and selection of cabinet members; and the shift in power in the workplace. Wolf reads smoothly and clearly, presenting her arguments and evidence passionately and persuasively. The listener will be charged with new energy to look at life and one's place in society. Just as her earlier book, The Beauty Myth (Morrow, 1991), had a powerful impact on its readers, so Fire with Fire will encourage listeners to consider the new "feminist" movement. Suitable for all collections.
- Miriam Kahn, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

Naomi Wolf was born in San Francisco in 1962. She was an undergraduate at Yale University and did her graduate work at New College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Her essays have appeared in various publications including: The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Ms., Esquire, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She also speaks widely to groups across the country.

The Beauty Myth, her first book, was an international bestseller. She followed that with Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change The 21st Century, published by Random House in 1993, and Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, published in 1997. Misconceptions, released in 2001, is a powerful and passionate critique of pregnancy and birth in America.

In fall 2002, Harper Collins published a 10th anniversary commemorative edition of The Beauty Myth. In May of 2005, Ms. Wolf released The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom from my Father on How to Live, Love and See. The End of America, published in September 2007 by Chelsea Green, is Naomi's latest book.

Naomi Wolf is co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, an organization devoted to training young women in ethical leadership for the 21st century. The institute teaches professional development in the arts and media, politics and law, business and entrepreneurship as well as ethical decision making.

She lives with her family in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By G Phillips on January 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
After the excellent 'Beauty Myth', I found this book to be a great disappointment. It may be useful for those women who have college degrees and now want to break the glass ceiling in the high powered business world, but it has nothing to say to those of us who are still trying to get access to equal pay and decent jobs. Wolf is a white middle class American and it shows - she can talk to other women like herself, but in this book she has absolutely nothing to say to the rest of us. Susan Faludi's book 'Backlash' is far more worthwhile for addressing issues that matter to the majority of women.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Nieforth on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Naomi Wolf understands the importance of balance. She understands that women have in many ways been deprived of (or at best, discouraged from claiming) our rights, and that we have a responsibility now to stand up for ourselves and claim them, and to use them with our own AND others' interests in mind when we have claimed them. Speaking out about victimization is useful because it is the first step toward concrete action to reverse the situation - but glorying in one's identity as a victim is not productive.
Because she refuses to shove feminism into a rigid dogmatic paradigm and promotes balancing rights and responsibility, she gets criticism from both sides. Those on the sociopolitical right are afraid of her because she is a popular feminist who wants women to have all the resources they deserve. Some of those on the staunchly ideological left are afraid (somewhat understandably, but unfortunately) that her deviations from their dogma will undermine their efforts. This criticism is really a good thing, as it means she understands the complexity of these issues. Feminism is supposed to be about choices and balance, and Wolf espouses both. The book (like any book ever written) is not without its weak points, but these are minor in comparison to the validity of the underlying message.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most captivating books I have read on the subject of women's studies. The message was so strong and exciting and completely tangible. I am a man and enjoyed it immensely...no doubt other men and women will enjoy it too.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David A. Bede on July 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have long believed that the biggest obstacle to re-popularizing feminism is the inaccurate but widespread belief that feminism is fundamentally anti-male. In this very well written tome, Wolf diagnoses this problem and points us all in the direction of overcoming it once and for all.
Wolf is rare among feminists in that she is not afraid to acknowledge that, while the patriarchy is primarily to blame for the continued pervasiveness of sexism, the feminist movement at large does hold some degree of responsibility for its own predicament. In reading her assessment of "victim feminism" (which really does skate dangerously close to the stereotypes of male-bashing and self-defeatism for women), we see both the shortcomings of feminism in the 1980s and how the patriarchy expertly exploited those shortcomings. We also see, once and for all, that being more accommodating is not in any way tantamount to giving up on the core values and principles of the movement. Men and women both have responsibilities to improving gender relations; and by the same token we all deserve to be recognized for our efforts and judged as individuals.
Unfortunately, this book does sound a bit dated in that it was published in 1993 and Wolf appears to have seen that era's political gains as a harbinger of a progressive decade. Throughout the book, I couldn't help wondering how her tone may have differed if she had written the book two or three years later. But the core of her argument remains unchanged by the rise of the Republican Congress and the "election" of George W. Bush. If anything, the call has only become more urgent for feminists of both genders to follow the lead Wolf has laid out for us.
I intend to urge all my male friends - and my more conservative female friends - to read this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MsHiss on October 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book! We so often overlook the simple decisions we make everyday that could change our situation. Little things like letting the manager at the bookstore know that we don't enjoy having Maxim next Newsweek.
It is an imperfect but eye opening book. Recognizing the power you already have is critical to advocating change. This book is inspiring in a way feminist literature hasn't been since the 1970's.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
If women read this and apply the information, the results will be absolutely astounding. An embrace of logic, analysis, and an unflinching look at how to fight a battle, win, and have a lot of fun doing it! This book is a rarity, pick it up today!!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have read all of Naomi Wolf's books and feel this is one of her best. Her knowledge and insight is truly astounding. She makes you wonder why we don't question or challenge the way women are perceived in modern society. She raises valid points that give credibility to the title, Fire with Fire. Great book ... I highly recommend it.
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