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Written by Herself: Autobiographies of American Women: An Anthology Paperback – November 17, 1992
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Jill Ker Conway (The Road from Coorain ) edits this sterling selection of autobiographical excerpts by 25 American women. Among them are artists, scientists, doctors, writers, and reformers, all well chosen though not necessarily well known. Physician Anne Walter Fearn writes of decades dispensing Western medicine in China and struggling with her husband, a God-fearing medical missionary who was "born to give orders just as definitely as I was born not to take them." The heart-rending narrative of former slave Harriet Ann Jacob, who tells of abortive and finally successful attempts to free herself and her children segues into Maya Angelou's more widely read contemporary account of doggedly soliciting sex as a teen uncertain of her sexual identity and hoping to be ushered into "that strange and exotic land of frills and femininity."
From Library Journal
The autobiographies in this collection are by women of extraordinary achievement--some well known, some neglected through the generations--who overcame daunting obstacles to pursue their individual destinies in an often hostile, changing America. The narratives, chosen and edited by historian Conway, a former president of Smith College, are grouped into the areas of freedom-fighting, science, arts and letters, and social reform. Among the women relaying their encounters with discrimination are Marian Anderson, preeminent black contralto, who was celebrated in Europe but barred from appearing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and Margaret Mead, the renowned anthropologist, who refused a "safe" field assignment and forged her own way in Samoa. Many, like writer Zora Neale Hurston, emerged from broken or impoverished families to pursue an education and find a way to support themselves and their families. The strong, clear voices of the trailblazers found in this exemplary anthology reveal a sheer delight in excellence, adventure, and intellectual challenge. Essential for public and academic libraries.
- Amy Boaz , "Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The first read (several years ago) was great and prompted this purchase as a gift. The perspectives are timeless and as I perused my own copy again I was impressed with how well they highlight the progress that's been made....and how much *more* there is to do.
This book is now at the top of my favorites. It is a compilation of twenty-five autobigraphical sketches, written with truth, genius and verve, each one of them. I had to take them one at a time, letting each one digest before I went on. Each time I thought, phew, the next one won't match up and yet it did. The voices and stories are extraordinary. I am going to buy it as a gift over and over again. It is more than a jewel. It is a necklace of gems.