The Women’s History of the Modern World: How Radicals, Rebels, and Everywomen Revolutionized the Last 200 Years

Rosalind Miles. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-244403-5
Novelist and historian Miles (coauthor, Warrior Women) spotlights “rebel women” from the past two centuries in this brisk and freewheeling history. Contending that women’s liberation is “a work in progress,” Miles begins with the French Revolution, documenting how playwright and political activist Olympe de Gouges’s insistence on women’s rights and vocal critiques of male republicans led to her execution in 1793. Miles also tracks how colonialism exacerbated tensions over women’s roles, details how Southern sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké linked abolitionism to women’s rights, and profiles 19th-century abortion provider Ann Trow, better known as Madame Restell. Other subjects include civil rights activist Rosa Parks; feminists Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Germaine Greer; and political figures Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Zedong and “supreme architect of the Cultural Revolution.” Recently, Miles contends, a “strong man” backlash against women’s gains has contributed to a resurgence of authoritarianism around the world. Miles writes with verve and jam packs her account with useful information, but her resolutely optimistic outlook for the 21st century seems at odds with the history she chronicles, and her abrupt shifts from one topic to the next can be jarring. Nevertheless, this is an energetic and enthusiastic survey of feminist boundary pushing. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-244405-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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