A Life in Motion

Florence Howe, Author
Florence Howe., Feminist, $24.95 trade paper (588p) ISBN 978-1-55861-697-4
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The founder of the Feminist Press offers a bifurcated account of her accomplished life. There's her personal life: growing up in a working-class family in Brooklyn in the 1930s, her marriages; her thwarted desire for children and laborious building of a family of close friends, adopted teenage black daughter, and stepsons. Then there's her professional life: teaching, civil rights and antiwar activism, development of women's studies, and her most important project, the Feminist Press, started 40 years ago. Her private and professional lives sometimes intersect, especially in her chapter "Becoming a Feminist," but usually she deals with these parts of her life separately. Howe is most enlightening in describing her childhood, with a mother who doted on her son but often treated Howe harshly (perhaps to teach her how hard a woman's life is). Yet after her mother's death, Howe finds that her mother had kept every piece of paper reflecting Howe's achievements. Howe is most comfortable writing about her work with the Feminist Press, how she met the women who became the editors of Women Writing India and Women Writing Africa, as well as her travels to international conferences. Too often, however, the emotional heart of her story is buried underneath the details. (Apr.)
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