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From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America Hardcover – May 8, 2014

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From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America + The Feminine Mystique (Norton Critical Editions)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (May 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022613461X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226134611
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The most comprehensive account so far of how nineteenth-century US men and women appropriated Darwinian ideas to argue for the equality of the sexes in the domestic and public spheres. . . . This deeply researched and richly detailed picture of US feminism in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century is an important contribution to our understanding of the interrelation of gender politics and science. From Eve to Evolution firmly corrects the mistaken view that evolutionary biology and feminism are at odds. And it reveals a more diverse dialogue around the science of sexual equality in the era than is generally appreciated.”
(Sarah S. Richardson Nature)

From Eve to Evolution documents the ardent ways in which women’s rights advocates articulated and advanced Charles Darwin’s observations of female choice in the natural world as a counterargument to age-old biblical assertions about women’s roles in society. Original and synthetic, Hamlin’s analysis follows key activists—some radical and others well established in society—to demonstrate their careful attention to the science involved as they made their case. She provides a fresh intellectual history of late nineteenth-century feminism that will interest historians of science as well as those interested in women, gender, and science issues.”
(Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, editor of History of Women in the Sciences)

From Eve to Evolution offers a lucid account of Darwin’s theories and their reception in America, focusing particularly on elements critical to women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the conflict between work and motherhood, women’s individuation, and sexual selection. The book restores figures, important in their own day but lost to historical consideration, such as Helen Hamilton Gardener and Eliza Burt Gamble, and presents lesser-known aspects of better-known figures, such as Antoinette Brown Blackwell. The work offers an important reminder of the role that science increasingly played in American culture and the baneful effects of the silencing of women’s voices from scientific discussion and debate.”
(Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, author of Wild Unrest)

“This engaging and persuasive discussion shows how American feminists influenced by The Descent of Man sought to reframe gender relations in Darwinian terms. Hamlin offers much-needed historical perspective on current debates over evolutionary concepts of human difference.”
(Rebecca Herzig, Bates College)

“The title of this book, From Eve to Evolution, neatly summarizes Hamlin’s narrative: how a relatively small but influential group of American feminists embraced the natural evolution of humans as a weapon to challenge the biblical—and notoriously patriarchal—account of God’s creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The fact that historians have struggled for decades to identify women’s voices in the debates over Darwinism, both pro and con, makes this volume especially valuable.”
(Ronald L. Numbers, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

About the Author

Kimberly A. Hamlin is associate professor of American studies and history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives in Cincinnati.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By William Baldwin on October 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great, thrilling account of strong, brave women fighting for a real place in society against all odds in the late 19th century. Much of it reads like a mystery or an adventure novel, in that I often became anxious to see how their fearless attempts to change a society that valued women only as mothers and servants to their masters (aka husbands). I couldn't wait to turn the pages to find how they made out. Their struggle encountered one obstacle after another thrown at them by men in power, other women, the church, and the culture in general. The fact that so many of them refused to give in and give up is nothing short of incredible. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in this history.
Of course, even today there are factions of men of power, churches, women who are manipulated by their husbands, and politicians who seem to think everyone would be better off if our society was more like the turn of the 20th century or their delusional visions of how much better off we were in the 1950s. At least today, this issue of freedom and equality for all has many supporters from all parts of society.
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