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Speaking Truth to Power Paperback – October 20, 1998

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

In 1991, Anita Hill, a law professor, dropped a bombshell into the middle of Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas: Thomas had, Hill alleged, harassed and embarrassed her with repeated requests for dates and discussions about pornography while supervising her at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hill's allegations introduced a volatile mix of sex, race, and scandal into the proceedings, deeply dividing both the Senate and the entire country. The aftermath of the Thomas hearings saw plenty of books about Anita Hill--some supporting her, others attacking--but Hill remained silent... until now. In Speaking Truth to Power, Anita Hill finally sets the record straight.

Though much of the book details her side of the story and her professional relationship with Clarence Thomas, Speaking Truth to Power also provides interesting glimpses into Anita Hill, the person. From her early life as the youngest of 13 children on a farm in Oklahoma to her current position as a law professor, Hill offers details about her personal life and her motivations. Hill writes with forthright conviction; in this case of he said/she said, Speaking Truth to Power tilts the scales a little more heavily in Anita Hill's favor. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Hill spoke truth to power during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and found out just how nasty power could be.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (October 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385476272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385476270
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anita F. Hill, the author of "Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home" (Beacon Press, 2012), is a professor of social policy, law, and women's studies at Brandeis University, where she teaches courses on Race and the Law and Gender Equality. After receiving her JD from Yale Law School in 1980, she worked as the attorney-advisor to Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Department of Education. In 1991, she testified at the Senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas. She gained national exposure when her allegations of sexual harassment were made public. She is the author of "Speaking Truth to Power", in which she wrote about her experience as a witness in the Thomas hearings. Hill has written widely on issues of race and gender in publications such as the New York Times, Newsweek, the Boston Globe, Critical Race Feminism, and others. She has appeared on Today, 60 Minutes, Meet the Press, and Face the Nation.

Photographer Copyright Credit Name: Jack White, 2012.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jane Rogers on April 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
At the beginning of the book Hill writes, "I did not choose the issue of sexual harassment, it chose me." And that is undoubtedly true. Anita Hill is a household name and her name immediately brings to mind the issue of sexual harassment. Hill describes how the issue chose her in this book.

You can tell just how truthful this book is by the way in which it was written. This is not the best written book. But, Anita Hill puts on no airs, she just tells the truth and the way she saw it in a simple, understandable voice.

And the truth is, she was put through the ringer by people in power who did not want to a) acknowledge that sexual harassment is a problem, and b) change the current widespread problem of sexual harassment and thus change our current power structure.

It is interesting to note how Hill relates the problem of sexual harassment to other crimes committed against women which are also motivated by power and control. These comparisons ring a bell of truth.

Hill also writes about how at times, when one is a ethnic minority and a woman, one has to choose between honoring their gender and honoring their race. Her analysis of this is enough to read the book.

I recommend this book to those who are interested in getting to know the real Anita Hill, those who are interested in insider politics especially when it concerns problems unique to women, and those who are interested in the way that different minority groups bisect each other.

The reason I didn't give this book a higher rating is because, as I mentioned, it's not the most well written book. I feel that at times the writing was circular and repetitive. The words don't leap off the page. However, also, at times the writing is very direct and potent and say the truth in a manner that is clear and concise. At those times, ideas leap off the page.
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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on July 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a lovely, lovely woman and with what class does she tell her story! How unfortunate that we live in a country where sexual harassment is so difficult for men to understand, and yet so pervasively cruel and persistent! And how very unfortunate that such a man as Clarence Thomas now has so much power in our government, power that we know he can not be trusted with. But how surprising is that really, today? Respect for women is hardly a qualification for office in the US Government, and it may never be if we don't all work together to make that difference -- and it's going to be a lot harder than it should be.
Anita Hill is a clear, calm, concise writer with a powerful story to tell. It is not easy to speak Truth to Power, but it is an essential element of making a difference. I honor all those who take the risk. I know how difficult it can be. I also know how very important it is. Anita Hill did not choose to be harassed, and she did not choose to be a weapon, but when called, she responed, and she told the truth, as awkward as it was for her. For those who would ridicule her ordeal, I can only say that no one should have to tolerate the inappropriate sexual behavior that exists in the workplace. We know it exists on the highest level. We know better than to say it couldn't be true. And we know Anita Hill got no pleasure from answering such personal, humiliating questions. She did what was expected of her, and it was *her* integrity that suffered, *her* career that wobbled while Clarence Thomas triumphed. His judgement leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO. I honor the efforts of Ms. Hill to honor the truth of her experience.
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23 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Azra Mandzuka on May 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am so glad I read this book - it gave me insight into what a wonderful woman Anita Hill is in explaining the ordeal she went through in testifying at "the hearings." I must admit that at the time, I didn't believe Hill's testaments; she appeared nervous and uncertain whereas Thomas appeared very sure of himself, was outraged, and even went so far as to cry before the Senate Committee and television cameras. Of course, I now realize that was just an act.
Anyhow, I thought that after the hearings were over, Anita Hill went back home to Oklahoma and went on with her life, the ordeal forgotten. After reading this book, I had no idea that Hill endured further harassment from students at the university where she taught, faculty, the media, and people who never knew her nor she them. It was downright outrageous and disgusting.
Hill writes eloquently about her roots, her upbringing in Oklahoma, her years at Yale Univ. Law School, and her job at the EEOC where she worked under Clarence Thomas and the harassment she endured from him, her subsequent career change all the way up until the hearings. It's all interesting and worth reading.
Anita Hill is the catalyst for which the laws of sexual harassment have changed and claims for which are now taken very seriously. It is very unfortunate that she had to take such torment and emotional brutality as a result of it, as if harassment from Thomas wasn't enough in and of itself.
That Thomas is now sitting on the highest court in the land for life, knowing the content of his character and demeanor, is indeed disturbing. But I hope that deep inside he is sorry and feels the utmost remorse and guilt for his mistreatment of Anita Hill and all his other victims.
The truth always come out - maybe not today or tomorrow - but eventually it does.
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