Generations: A Century of Women Speak about Their Lives

Myriam Miedzian, Author, Alisa Malinovich, With Atlantic Monthly Press $27.5 (592p) ISBN 978-0-87113-678-7
Compiled by a mother-and-daughter team, this gathering of original interviews with women, spanning three generations and representing a wide array of ethnicities, classes, locations and lifestyles, constitutes a vivid oral history of contemporary women in America. The topics addressed in these firsthand accounts range from corsets and bra-burnings to WWII factory jobs, supermom heroics and practically everything else. Vast in scope and inherently overwhelming, the book nevertheless achieves its aim--to ""make more nuanced our understanding of the journey women have taken over the century,"" as Miedzian (Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence) puts it in her introduction. Malinovich is a recent graduate of Brown University. Unfortunately, the book's structure diminishes its impact. The three main sections (""Growing Up,"" ""Family"" and ""Work"") are divided by generation (women born from 1900 to the early 1930s, early 1930s to mid-'50s and mid-'50s to mid-'70s) and then into chapters comprised of interview segments grouped together for reasons that are unclear and with often uninspired titles, such as ""It was 1960,"" ""We Split Up"" and ""I Have Done a Lot of Volunteer Work."" As a result, individual accounts are scattered, drastically minimizing the impact and clarity of stories from 150 women. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-385-33325-2
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