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Free Woman: The Life and Times of Victoria Woodhull Paperback – February 28, 2011
Top Customer Reviews
The author presents a filtered and partial view of Woodhull, minimizing her involvement in the free love, Spiritualist and early socialist/communist movements, and leaving out her significant efforts as an apologist for eugenics entirely -- possibly in the name of sanitizing Woodhull for presentation as a strong precursor to modern feminist readers. Unfortunately, not only does this filtering strip away the origins of many of Woodhull's positions, and create awkward moments in the text, but it reduces a rich, complex and important figure in several important nineteenth century cultural movements to a cardboard cutout.
Specialists will be completely put off by the fictionalizing in the text, of which there is a great deal. While it is possible -- for example -- that documentary records of conversations between Woodhull and Colonel Blood, during the early days of their courtship, exist, allowing us to know *precisely* what they said to one another during a particular moonlit walk, I doubt it.
The author's demonstrated understanding of nineteenth century American culture is -- despite the "life and times" billing of the title -- is shallow, almost cartoonishly so at times. There is a very partial "life", and virtually no "times" in this book.
Definitely not worth ten bucks. The Wikipedia entry on Woodhull will provide an equal number of facts, with fewer distortions, and less effort required.