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The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 (Gender and American Culture) Hardcover – June 15, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469614278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469614274
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This provocative work challenges the standard narrative of the history of the women's rights movement in the United States. Even more important, however, it aids readers in understanding how collective historical memory is created and shaped. . . . Fascinating. . . . Recommended for scholars in women's history, constitutional history, and late-19th-century American history.--Library Journal

This wonderful book draws on classics, political science, and sociology to fill a large gap in the history of the U.S. women's movement.--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Greatly expands on current feminist scholarship that interrogates the origin story of Seneca Falls and the inevitability of the triumph of women's suffrage.--Choice

Tetrault expertly unpacks the myth of Seneca Falls by examining the messy history of the leaders in the post-Civil War women's rights movement.--Choice

Review

Tetrault examines how the history and memory of women's suffrage was created by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, as well as their legions of accomplices over time. She makes the convincing case that an archival approach to this 'construction' of a canonized memory will show us how an origins myth rooted in the narrative of Seneca Falls has hovered over the story and reputation of women's suffrage ever since Stanton and Anthony wrote their History. How and why Stanton and Anthony created their own myth of leadership as well as the progress narrative of their movement is a splendid case for how the politics of memory works in history.--David Blight, Yale University

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stpauley on July 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is beautifully written and effectively captures the passion and strength of the many leaders of the women's rights movements at the time. It does read like a novel. Tetrault, in addition, gives us just enough context to understand the place of the suffrage movement among the larger concerns of the day. Her primary goal, that of deconstructing the Seneca Falls narrative, is accomplished in an impressively even-handed fashion.

I expect this book will be seen as a major contribution to the history of women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By joe miller on July 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkable book that shows how Anthony and Stanton wrote the history of women's suffrage with themselves as the stars. It reveals the rivalry between them and Lucy Stone, who was lecturing for women's rights before either Anthony or Stanton was active in the movement. Lisa Tetrault has done quite a lot of research, and succeeded in writing a fair and detailed treatment of the suffrage movement. This book deserves a wide audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carol j. saylor on December 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For those of us who live in the Seneca Falls area and had grandmothers and a great grandmothers who marched with "the ladies of the myth" this book is a good reminder for us to look "at the big picture" when talking about the Women's Suffrage Movement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publication of "The Myth of Seneca Falls" is a big event for those of us who like to live in the suffrage world. Professor Tetrault has come up with the first really effective counter-narrative to Eleanor Flexner's classic "Century of Struggle".

Professor Tetrault argues convincingly that the famous Seneca Falls convention of 1848 was only part of a flow of many events with at least equal claims to our attention. She "foregrounds" the work of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as writers of women's history. It was Stanton and Anthony who in later years promoted the supposed significance of Seneca Falls. They did so to place themselves at the center of a movement that was in fact widespread and chaotic, with contested and scattered leadership. With the tale of Seneca Falls, they won the fight for the minds of the public and movement activists. In time, this led to the preeminence of Anthony as a suffrage icon and some degree of centralization in leadership.

Tetrault's account does not go on into the 20th century; in my view the partial centralization of the movement around the image of Anthony as revered pioneer had important benefits in later stages. Anthony's organization (the National American Woman Suffrage Association) served as a launching pad for the careers of Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who played vital roles as the movement built to tremendous dynamism and strength during the 1910s.

One of the many merits of Tetrault's book is its discussion of the tension between the active, independent grassroots of the suffrage movement and the efforts of some to achieve a dominant national leadership.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mary ellen parker on June 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a talented writer, my daughter is the author and even if she were not anyone would be overwhelmed at the research she did, just look at the bibliography, very impressive, reads almost like a novel, one can hardly wait to find out what will happen next, as a women's rights
proponent myself, the story of where it all started helps one understand the present status of women and how far we still have to go
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The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 (Gender and American Culture)
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