The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear

Kate Moore. Sourcebooks, $27.99 (560p) ISBN 978-1-4926-9672-8
Bestseller Moore (The Radium Girls) delivers a riveting chronicle of Elizabeth Packard’s (1816–1897) forced commitment to an Illinois insane asylum and advocacy for women’s equality and the rights of psychiatric patients. Skillfully drawing on Packard’s voluminous writings, Moore describes her subject’s “cheerless” marriage to Presbyterian preacher Theophilus Packard, and the couple’s growing estrangement as Elizabeth, inspired by the nascent women’s rights movement, began to publicly question his theological beliefs. Angered by his wife’s “impassioned eloquence,” Theophilus took advantage of an Illinois law that allowed husbands to have their wives committed without trial. Moore recounts Elizabeth’s shock at discovering that the Jacksonville Insane Asylum “was a storage unit for unsatisfactory wives,” details abuses by hospital attendants and superintendent Andrew McFarland, and delves into the legal and social framework that rendered married women “utterly defenseless.” After thwarting Theophilus’s plans to have her permanently committed, Elizabeth led successful campaigns to overturn coverture laws that denied rights to married women and reform asylums across the country. Moore packs in plenty of drama without sacrificing historical fidelity, and paints Elizabeth’s fierce intelligence and unflagging ambition with vibrant brushstrokes. Readers will be thrilled to discover this undersung early feminist hero. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/10/2021
Release date: 06/22/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-4926-9673-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-6645-0817-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-6647-8179-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-6646-1600-4
Paperback - 560 pages - 978-1-7282-4257-6
Library Binding - 714 pages - 978-1-4328-9022-3
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