From Publishers Weekly
Puzzled by why traditionally Democrat women switched camps and voted for George Bush in the 2004 election, Henneberger, a contributing editor at Newsweek
, set out to identify divisive issues among women. Traveling around the country, she talked with a random sample of 234 ordinary women in 20 states—both blue and red. The result is a compelling and surprising look at what most sways women's votes. In 2006, 51% of voters were female; yet, with the exception of professionals trying to juggle motherhood and careers, average women are not asked their opinions on what they consider to be pivotal issues—abortion, religion and gay marriage, among others. While many profess to be Democrats at heart, numerous women switched sides during the presidential election because of just a single issue, even when they agreed with the Democrats on everything else. Even extremely anti-Bush Katrina victims say they won't hold Bush's ineffectiveness against his party, and they will vote for the candidate who supports their belief on the most critical matters. With political campaigning beginning earlier than ever and elections won by the narrowest of margins, politicians on both sides would do well to heed Henneberger's message that for the average woman, all issues are not created equal; candidates would do well to listen to the voices she recounts. (May)
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Journalist Henneberger traveled the nation to ask women what mattered to them and examined those heartfelt concerns against the political issues more often trotted out by candidates. What she found was that women's opinions did not match the neatly labeled conventional wisdoms of the gender gap or soccer moms. Henneberger visited childhood girlfriends, with her twin daughters in tow, in her hometown of Mount Carmel, Illinois; she talked to women who had survived Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; black women in Milwaukee; Catholic women in Denver. She heard a broad range of opinions from a cross section of American women, but what she mostly heard was how glad these women were to have someone listen to them talk about the important concerns of the day, including the war, economics, sex, and religion. Putting journalism aside, Henneberger offers a close-up look at the opinions of 234 women in 12 states, keeping the statistics and political analysis for the footnotes. An absorbing collection. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved