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Sisters: The Lives of America's Suffragists Paperback – August 22, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0809087037 ISBN-10: 0809087030 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; 1st edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809087030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809087037
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This lively, succinct overview of the five activists most responsible for securing the vote for American women is a welcome, intellectually sophisticated addition to feminist history. Baker, a respected historian at Goucher College, presents five interconnected critical biographical essays on Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard and Alice Paul. Baker's effortless blending of personal narrative with political and historical analysis—a technique she perfected in her groundbreaking 1987 Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography—works to great effect, not only vividly brings these women to life but explicating the complicated social and political framework in which they existed. For instance, she traces Frances Willard's evangelical feminist style and interests to her devotion to her mother and to her father's calling to be a minister during the Second Great Awakening. Baker knows a good story, such as the highly respectable Stanton's friendship with notorious free-lover Victoria Woodhull; Baker highlights both the story's drama and historical significance. While she doesn't ignore complex themes—such as the thorny relationship suffrage organizing had to the enfranchisement of African-American men—she often downplays them. Still, Baker has written a popular (yet scrupulously footnoted), smart and compelling book. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This fascinating collective biography features in-depth sketches of five indispensable leaders of the American suffrage movement. Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul--stalwarts in the struggle to extend fundamental rights and freedoms to females--are profiled in turn. Although these women are identified with the famous movements they founded and the radical causes they espoused, Baker breathes new life into subjects that have become somewhat fossilized and sanitized over time. Viewing them through a revitalized historical lens, she concentrates on the private lives and personal connections that contributed to the formation of their staunch beliefs and ambitions. The fact that they each led lives that were influenced by childhood circumstances, divergent personalities, robust love interests, bitter disagreements, powerful friendships, incredible triumphs, and overwhelming tragedies is significant to understanding the ebb and flow of the movement they were responsible for keeping afloat for well over half a century. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Definitely a 5-star read!
K. Vestal
As a docent at the Susan B Anthony House and Museum in Rochester, NY, I have read many biographies of suffragists.
c.bonnie karl
The book provides a great overview of some of the primary voices and personalities in the suffrage movement.
Nancy Ann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Quinn on March 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before reading this book, I had basically no idea about anything dealing with the Suffrage movement, except that it was Susan B. Anthony who was on a coin (and this was even after taking a college-level US History course). This book is a MUST for any person who wants to get a general overview not only about five of the most influential women in the Suffrage Movement, but also of the movement overall. It doesn't have any "boring" parts, and is all information that everyone should know. I can't recommend it enough!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on April 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I must admit the only reason I started reading this book was because it was required reading for my Leadership class. I thought it sounded interesting from the options, and decided to give it a try. Going into this book I only had heard bits and pieces of the lives of these women, and had mainly focused my attention on Susan B. Anthony. I was amazed to learn about the other four women who had such a large part in this movement between 1840 and 1920. Jean Baker's ability to turn nonfiction facts into engaging tales of the peaks and valleys in the lives of these amazing women kept me reading. I was interested from the opening sentence of each women's story, and had to find out how their lives played out. These stories don't often get told, and I think everyone should take time to read about these extraordinary American women who changed the world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Vestal on July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jean Baker has provided a fascinating memoir of five amazingly strong women in the fabric of America's history. Through carefully documented and responsibly interpreted research, she gives the reader a clear view into the public and private lives of five of the suffragettes: Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard and Alice Paul. Each of the 5 biographies can be read alone, although a reading of all 5 adds richness and depth to the understanding of the period and the suffrage movement. Definitely a 5-star read! Highly recommended for personal reading or as a required text for college history or women's studies classes.

Recommended companion DVDs: "Iron Jawed Angels" and "Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: Not for Ourselves Alone," both available from Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Justin on April 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before reading this book, I thought women's suffrage was only about a group of when marching down a street asking for the right to vote. This book gave so much insight into the movement and five of its most prominent leaders. It does a great job of showing all the different angles and reforms that the suffragists were pushing for. I recommend if you are interested in a more in depth look at what was going on in that time period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shalom on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can honestly say that before reading this book I knew next to nothing about the history of the United States Women's movement or its major players. Now that I have finished it, I am blown away by the commitment and sacrifices these women made so I could enjoy the freedoms I do today without blinking an eye. The fact that it took nearly 100 years to earn the vote is just astounding. I'm so glad they never gave up!

The only parts of the book that I found myself skeptical of were the ones pertaining to Susan B. Anthony and Frances Willard where the author assumed based on a few letters exchanged that these women were lesbians (not with each other). But she didn't stop there. She felt she had to speculate on the probability of whether or not these women exchanged 'genital contact', which (although I have nothing personally against lesbians) was just not an image I needed in my head, nor was it pertinent to the main story. Women having strong feelings for each other does not make them lesbians, nor does sleeping in the same bed while traveling (which was not at all uncommon back then). But even if they were (and again, I really don't care) I feel that the author should have kept to the facts alone - copied portions of the letters in question and then let the reader decide for themselves. It was a distracting and unnecessary assumption on the author's part. For this reason, I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chela on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book should be required reading in every high school and every home in America. Woman's history is the context for a true understanding of current affairs in the West. I worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1981 which failed due to ignorance of the history of how the suffragists won the vote in 1920. The current battle for reproductive rights continues largely because of the ignorance of the history of these Sisters. Mahatma Gandhi is often extolled for the victories of Martin Luther King Jr and of President Obama. While slavery was being overcome by the abolitionists, suffragists were being ridiculed, jailed and force fed. Gandhi's nonviolence movement was practiced by the suffragists before Satyagraha became a household word. Roe vs. Wade can be understood only in the context of woman's history. The woman's movement for freedom is alive and will win in the end. Know the facts of history and freedom for both men and women will come sooner rather than later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paula the reader on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul are an eclectic but mysteriously unified unit of "martyrs" for the women's suffrage cause. Jean Baker invites you to be uplifted to combat whatever social ills that make your heart tick. For the suffrage sisters, the issue of women's empowerment is what riles them up. What is most encouraging is that the suffragist sisters refuse to settle for anything less than total self-sacrifice. You, too, will be challenged to sacrifice bits of yourself for the benefit of those stuck in the thick of injustice because of the convicting examples.
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