- Series: P.S.
- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 24, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061227226
- ISBN-13: 978-0061227226
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 272 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines (P.S.) Reissue Edition
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Well researched and well written, America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines is a powerful and important book. Starting with Pocahontas and Eleanor Dare (the first female colonist), this lively and fascinating history records the changes in American women's lives and the transformations in American society from the 1580s through the 2000s.
A history of the oft-marginalized sex must often draw from diaries and journals, which were disproportionally written by whites; as a result, African-American and Native American women are not as well represented as white in the earlier chapters of America's Women. However, Gail Collins writes about women of many races and ethnicities, and in fact provides more information about Native Americans, African-Americans, and Chinese, Jewish, and Italian immigrants than some general U.S. history books. She writes about rich and poor, young and old, urban and rural, slave and slave-owner, athlete and aviatrix, president's wife and presidential candidate--and, of course, men and women. And some of these women--from the justly famous, like Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman, to the undeservedly obscure, like Elizabeth Eckford and Senator Margaret Chase Smith--will not only make any woman proud to be a woman, they will make any American proud to be American.
An editor at the New York Times, Gail Collins has also written Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity, and American Politics and, with Dan Collins, The Millennium Book. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The basis of the struggle of American women, postulates Collins (Scorpion Tongues), "is the tension between the yearning to create a home and the urge to get out of it." Today's issues-should women be in the fields, on the factory lines and in offices, or should they be at home, tending to hearth and family?-are centuries old, and Collins, editor of the New York Times's editorial page, not only expertly chronicles what women have done since arriving in the New World, but how they did it and why. Creating a compelling social history, Collins discovers "it's less a war against oppressive men than a struggle to straighten out the perpetually mixed message about women's role that was accepted by almost everybody of both genders." These confusing messages are repeated over 400 years and are typified in the 1847 lecture of one doctor who stated that women's heads are "almost too small for intellect and just big enough for love" (ironically, around this time Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from an American medical school). The narratives are rich with direct quotes from both celebrated and common women, creating a clear picture of life in the 16th through 20th centuries, covering everyday (menstruation, birth control, cooking, cleanliness) and extraordinary (life during war, the abolition movement, fighting for the right to vote) topics. Beginning with Eleanor Dare and her 1587 sail to the colonies and ending with the 1970s, Collins's work is a fully accessible, and thoroughly enjoyable, primer of how American women have not only survived but thrived. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Gail does a great job of showing the strength of women despite the way society dictates a woman's "proper" position. She even shows the world forces that shift local attitudes. We see periods where women gain some elements of social independence only to have history shift in new directions, taking back some of the hard-fought gains. It is not uncommon for women to be caught in this struggle, deemed by society to be the more dependent, less interested, capable, or "inclined" of the two sexes. Women were expected to step in and take over men's work when the need arose, and then fade back into the background when men reappeared. It was (is) not uncommon for those women remaining in the front lines to work two or three times harder just to be accepted as an "equal."
Gail is masterful in her writing and this book was a total joy to read. As a woman, this explained the society I grew up in, as well as defining much of my own struggle, my own frustrations with the role and treatment of women in today's society.
This is a book every woman should read, both to appreciate the strength and courage of women who have come before us, and to appreciate our own position. I'd love to see men read this book, because there should be ongoing discussions of women's role in society.
My only disappointment with this book is that it ended at the turn of the century. I would love to have seen what Gail thought of the more recent movements by male politicians, making far-reaching decisions about women's issues without any input from women colleagues.
This is a great opportunity to see where you came from...I think it will shock you!
I already have and read the book, but I just came upon this on sale for $1.99, and I could not pass it up.
I am always wanting to show friends items from this book, and now I will always have a copy on my IPad.
There are already reviews explaining the context, so I will not rewrite it. It is one very smart book, and a very easy read. Gail Collins is terrific, and I think you would find any of her books a joy to read.
I'm sure many, if not most, women today take for granted the freedoms we enjoy as women everyday. Younger women especially have no idea what women of the past have had to endure, just to live. Indeed, the book makes it abundantly clear, that the past one hundred years or so are the first time, ever, that it has actually been desirable to be a female at all.
I could hardly read about the witch trials in Salem. The description really brought it all to life. I haven't read it through but I highly recommend it . You will realize you never had it so good. I am thankful to all who suffered so that I could enjoy my life,