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America's Women : Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines
by Gail Collins

Overview - Previewed Week of August 23, 2004
Collins chronicles a history spanning book rich in detail, filled with fascinating characters and 400 years of women--dolls, drudges, helpmates, and heroines.
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More About America's Women by Gail Collins
 
 
 
Overview
Previewed Week of August 23, 2004
Collins chronicles a history spanning book rich in detail, filled with fascinating characters and 400 years of women--dolls, drudges, helpmates, and heroines.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780060185107
  • ISBN-10: 0060185104
  • Publisher: Harpercollins
  • Publish Date: October 2003
  • Page Count: 576


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - General
Books > Social Science > Women\'s Studies - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

 
BookPage Reviews

Remembering history's heroines

Virtually anyone who has taken an American history course knows something about Sojourner Truth, the former slave who became a powerful abolitionist. Or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who spent her life fighting for women's right to vote. Even Margaret Sanger, the woman who promoted the use of contraception, registers some name recognition.

But few know of Rahel Gollup, the Jewish immigrant who came to the United States in 1892 to escape persecution. Gollup snuck across the Russian border with her aunt, made her way to Ellis Island and came of age in working class Manhattan. While her story is every bit as powerful and courageous as that of any American woman, it is virtually unknown.

That's the genius of Gail Collins' new book America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines. Collins reminds us that for every Susan B. Anthony, there are thousands of Rahel Gollups, women whose stories may have been overlooked by history, but who have collectively shaped American culture.

Collins—the first woman to oversee the New York Times editorial pages—offers a comprehensive, beautifully narrated history of America as seen through the eyes of women, famous and otherwise. She achieves the rare feat of presenting an exhaustively researched history that isn't exhausting to read. Quite the opposite, America's Women is so fascinating and detailed it could almost be called Everything You Wanted to Know About American Women But Were Afraid to Ask. How did colonial women handle menstruation and childbirth? Why did women submit to unwieldy hoop skirts and corsets so tight they caused miscarriages? How did the pioneer women of the late 1800s handle living in homes dug out of the sides of hills?

But the book is not just a collection of interesting tidbits. The greatest accomplishment of America's Women is that it weaves together the voices of so many different females. In Collins' hands, it's not hard to find the common thread between these women—and to imagine the notion of a helpless fairer sex banished for good.

 
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