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With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote Hardcover – September 1, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Bausum peels back the layers of the story of the women's suffrage movement, exposing grit, fiery determination, and radical tactics. After covering the importance of familiar names, she devotes the bulk of the book to the events of 1906 to 1920, when a new group of young women emerged who were willing to truly suffer for suffrage. The movement split into two camps–Carrie Chapman Catt's larger National American Woman Suffrage Association working conservatively to gain the vote state by state, and a smaller, more contentiously radical organization, the National Woman's Party led by Alice Paul, focusing on a federal amendment. Bausum highlights the tension between these factions in well-documented detail and casts it against the greater picture of controversy within and surrounding the national and state governments, as well as World War I. She portrays her suffragist heroines as iron-jawed women totally devoted to their cause. Cloth is a recurrent theme, as the author describes the suffragists' tricolored banners, sashes, pennants, and sewn signs. Vintage photographs, some never before published, depict key figures in the movement speaking, protesting, parading, picketing, and going to jail. Bausum's careful research is evident throughout, with sources thoroughly cited and a text studded with original source quotations. Judy Monroe's The Nineteenth Amendment(Enslow, 1998) also includes lesser-known characters and vintage photos and anecdotal material, but lacks the vitality of Bausum's vivid presentation.–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 6-12. Though few readers will pick this up for browsing, students will be easily drawn by the details of the American women's suffrage movement. As a child, the author met Alice Paul, a famous suffragist, and was clearly inspired. This personal interest drives the detailed history, written in an objective but anecdotal fashion. The design is thoughtful and attractive: sepia-tone photographs are highlighted in purple and gold (purple, gold, and white were the signature colors of the movement), the dark purple text is clean, elegant and very readable, and the general layout is artfully done. Detailed notes, bibliography, thumbnail biographies, and a chronology make this an all-in-one text that provides a general background to a very specific time within the movement. The timely release of this title will make every woman more appreciative of the Nineteenth Amendment, as well as the tremendous sacrifices that made it happen. Debbie Carton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Author Ann Bausum has this to say about American history. Learning about history in school, "I knew all about Washington and Lee, Marshall and Eisenhower. History seemed to be a progression of stories about men and wars and conquest". How much did any of us learn about women getting the vote in school? As I recall, it consisted of one or two sentences in a textbook amounting to something like, "And then in 1920, women were given the right to vote under the 19th Amendment". Goodnight, everybody! The real story behind that teeny little sentence, however, is immense. It's a story that spans more than seventy-two years and was won with literal blood, sweat, and tears. Through this book we meet great heroes like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth. We hear about how the suffragists repeatedly split into two different factions and how these factions worked separately to bring about an amendment to the constitution. We see the heroism of the women (dealing with particularly disgusting forced feedings, beatings at the hands of sailors, and rat infested cells) and witness their less than shining moments as well (in regards to their treatment of African-American women). By the time the amendment comes to a vote and has to be ratified by thirty-six states, the book has become an edge-of-your-seat thriller. You may know the ending already, but it's a heckuva ride getting there.
Bausum writes in a style befitting of the heroes she's commending. She never shies away from the movement's prejudices and problems, but at the same time it's clear that these women were particularly exceptional. The book even goes so far as to include a section on the Equal Rights Amendment (something I can honestly say I have never before witnessed in a kids' text). On top of that you have profiles of all the major players, a chronology of events, a resource guide, sources and acknowledgements, a bibliography, an index, and a list of books about the suffragists that I spent the better part of last night copying down so that I could read them later. Obviously, I would have liked there to have been some more sections on the African-American women and their take on suffrage. There's an excellent passage quoting Sojourner Truth's, "And Ain't I A Woman" speech and some mild references to racism in the south and within the movement, but these are kind of glossed over.
The layout of the book is the only real problem with it. The photographs that dot almost every page are accompanied by pale light brown captions that will be almost impossible to read if your child has less than stellar eyesight. Also, some of these pictures are stunning or shocking to the point that you'd love to learn more about them. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten the images you see here are given brief three to four line captions and then never mentioned in the text. It makes for slightly frustrating reading. The colors of the book (purple, brown, and white) are lovely, but don't quite make up for the difficult-to-read-text.
But that's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that the book fills a very great need. No library in the country is complete without it. If you've children who considers themselves to be experts on American history, brother they don't know nuthin' until they've read "With Courage and With Cloth". A remarkable creation and a necessary read. Perhaps even moreso for adults.
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