The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom

Phyllis Chesler, Author . Palgrave $24.95 (241p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6898-2

Chesler, an active member of the women's movement for four decades, makes a serious charge against her sisters: she feels they have abandoned their commitment to freedom and feminist values, and "become cowardly herd animals and grim totalitarian thinkers." Chesler (Women and Madness ) takes liberal feminists to task for not speaking out against what she sees as the most important threat to Western freedom: Islamic terrorism. She has penned a cross between a cri de coeur and a deeply rhetorical polemic that makes scores of provocative points, but because of sometimes offhanded scholarship (e.g., listing unsourced news items as research), a proclivity for overgeneralizing and an anecdotal approach to arguing, will probably fail to win over readers who don't already agree with her. Her sense of urgency leads her to paint, with broad strokes, a frightening portrait of current U.S. academic and political culture: the campuses, she says, have "bred a new and diabolical McCarthyism" spearheaded by leftists and approvingly quotes a feminist scholar saying that "women's studies has become... the most retrograde of disciplines" because of its single-minded reliance on postmodern theory. As in her last book, The New Anti-Semitism , Chesler raises important issues, but her style will alienate the very people she means to reach. (Nov. 5)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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