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Betty Friedan and the Making of "The Feminine Mystique": The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism (Culture, Politics and the Cold War)

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1558492769
ISBN-10: 1558492763
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Editorial Reviews


"An engaging and often arresting narrative, highly effective in portraying the evolution of Friedan's thinking. This book will certainly change common assumptions about the origins of The Feminine Mystique."―Nancy F. Cott, Yale University

"A book that will be read, enjoyed, pondered, and debated. It is literate, broadly grounded in the intellectual and political currents of the era, reflects meticulous and imaginative sleuthing in archival sources, and is written in graceful and accessible prose."―Dorothy Sue Cobble, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

"A compelling story. The melding of genres―biography, exposé, historical monograph―should make the book useful in classrooms and also enhance its readership outside the university. . . . The book will make a big splash in and out of the historical profession."―Joanne Meyerowitz, editor of Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960

"Horowitz's careful reconstruction of Friedan's radical past exposes unexpected continuities between generations of radical thinkers and activists, and forces a reconsideration of the oft-noted class and racial limitations of Friedan's book. His argument―judiciously framed yet bold in its implications―is built upon a meticulous piecing together of sometimes fragmentary evidence, and insures that we will never again see Friedan and the movement she came to stand for in quite the same ways."―Lois Palken Rudnick, author of Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture

"Betty Friedan and the Making of "The Feminine Mystique" is ... intelligently ambitious but so tendentious you want to throw it across the room."―Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review

"[The Feminine Mystique] now feels both revolutionary and utterly contemporary. . . . Four decades later, millions of individual transformations later, there is still so much to learn from this book. . . . Those who think of it as solely a feminist manifesto ought to revisit its pages to get a sense of the magnitude of the research and reporting Friedan undertook."―Anna Quindlen

"The book that pulled the trigger on history."―Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock

"One of those rare books we are endowed with only once in several decades."―Amitai Etzioni, author of The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society

"[A] bridge between conservative and radical elements in feminism, an ardent advocate of harmony and human values."―Esquire

About the Author

Daniel Horowitz is Mary Higgins Gamble Professor of American Studies and director of the American studies program at Smith College. He is author of Vance Packard and American Social Criticism.

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture, Politics, and the Cold War
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (September 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558492763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558492769
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this very readable book, Daniel Horowitz examines Betty Friedan's political and intellectual origins and finds good reason to question the widely held understanding that The Feminine Mystique was written out of the perspective and consciousness of a typical surburban housewife.
Professor Horowitz explores the life and thought of the young Bettye Goldstein as an undergraduate at Smith, and then as a labor journalist in the early and mid 1940's, and reveals her origins as a committed social critic and advocate with labor-left origins.
Professor Horowitz treats his subject gently and with respect. Betty Friedan disagrees with Horowitz's analysis, and this tension adds to the fun.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Would have been five stars but didn't get a chance to create the effect I wanted it to have. A friend of min's father was a SAC B-52 (BUFF) pilot during the Vietnam War and during his deployment his wife back here in the states went hard leftist. Divorced and got back together 5 times. Betty Friedan was a huge influence in turning the mother into a leftist.

The mother is now in her 80s and is supposed to be an intellectual. I left the book with my friend and she said she would give it to her mother ... both are supposed to be open minded. Turns out the book sits unopened and was never given to the mother.
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Format: Paperback
Daniel Horowitz is a professor of American Studies at Smith College. He has also written/edited books such as On the Cusp: The Yale College Class of 1960 and a World on the Verge of Change, The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979, Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s: The "Crisis of Confidence" Speech of July 15, 1979, Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World, American Social Classes in the 1950s: Selections from Vance Packard's The Status Seekers, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1998 book, “a labor journalist … In 1952 … wrote a pamphlet, ‘UE Fights for Women Workers’… The labor journalist was Betty Friedan. Yet in 1973 Friedan remarked that until she started writing The Feminine Mystique, ‘I wasn’t even conscious of the woman problem.
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