Rebels in White Gloves: Coming of Age with the Wellesley Class of '69

Miriam Horn, Author Crown Publishers $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8129-2501-2
Viewing Wellesley College as a hothouse in which the cultural changes of the womens movement took root, Horn, a journalist for U.S. News and World Report, probes the experiences of the 1969 graduating class of 400 women, which included Hillary Rodham Clinton. Contrasting the lives of the class members whom Horn interviewed with those of their mothers, who were largely confined to traditional roles, this account is a good but not groundbreaking anecdotal social history rather than a rigorous sociological analysis. At her graduation, Rodham delivered a speech justifying social change, which foreshadowed her classmates subsequent pursuit of radical politics, career success and marriages predicated on equality between the partners. Horn has competently edited a compelling collection of self-portraits of these Wellesley women, who mostly, but not entirely, came from wealthy white Protestant backgrounds. Dorothy Devine describes her experiment with collective living and Cynthia Gilbert relates how she helped organize fellow flight attendants into a labor union, while Kathy Smith Ruckman explains why she chose to stay home and raise her children. Kris Olson Rogerss story is of particular interest: a lawyer, wife and mother, she thought for 22 years that she had the perfect egalitarian marriage until her husband told her he was in love with another woman. Despite the differing paths the women of 69 took, according to the author, 80% of them consider themselves feminists and have examined their choices within that context. Author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-385-72018-2
Open Ebook - 246 pages - 978-0-307-77389-0
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