TIDAL WAVE: How Women Changed America at Century's End

Sara Margaret Evans, Author . Free Press $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-02-909912-4

Evans, who has taught women's history at the University of Minnesota since 1976 and written several books on feminism, including Born for Liberty and Personal Politics, has attempted here the nearly impossible: to write a nonpartisan, totally inclusive account of modern (i.e., 1960–2002) feminism in America. A movement with slogans like "the personal is political"; which demanded, at times, self-criticism and anti-elitist nonleaders; and generally rejected party-line politics is necessarily a difficult one to document, much less to summarize. But Evans is determined to write down as much of this history as possible, "to affirm for future generations that they do indeed have a history, by turns glorious and distressing, on which they can build." She sees feminism as a rising tide in the late 1960s and '70s, engendering an undertow pulling women back in the '80s, resulting in a resurgence of women in the '90s. Evans views the women's movement as a "tidal wave" destined to prevail (even if the steady in-and-out of tides might also suggest the power of the status quo). She lays out her chapters chronologically, with a wealth of detail on people, ideas, organizations and acronyms, all carefully identified. Personal accounts of the movement, like Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's Outlaw Woman, are more engaging than this condensed, encyclopedic overview; still, it will be a useful textbook for women's studies classes. (Mar. 3)

Reviewed on: 01/06/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2103-0
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-0-7432-5502-8
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