The American History of an Idea
by Lillian Faderman
The title of this excellent book tells a reader just what to expect. This is an academic title that will talk about the concept and history of women over the course of 400 years of American history.
This title explores women’s experiences and the ways in which expectations for them could often be defined by others. Readers will also discover when and how women began to define their lives and experiences for themselves.
The author is a professor and she knows her subject well. She is also able to engage the reader and does so, right from the introduction, when she talks about her JHS, her sexual identity, and her having been raised by an unmarried mother. Professor Faderman notes the disconnect between her experience and the 1950s woman as portrayed on TV in the personage of a June Cleaver or a Donna Reed.
When Professor Faderman made her way into a PhD program, she chose to study women in America. One result of that decision is this book. Professor Faderman examines the ways in which women have been defined by both men and women and notes that, while some women wanted more (the vote, for example), others did not.
This is an engaging, interesting and absorbing study that moves from the seventeenth century to the present day. I highly recommend it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
This book will be published on 15 Mar 2022.
“A comprehensive and lucid overview of the ongoing campaign to free women from ‘the tyranny of old notions.’”—Publishers Weekly
“An intelligently provocative, vital reading experience. . . . This highly readable, inclusive, and deeply researched book will appeal to scholars of women and gender studies as well as anyone seeking to understand the historical patterns that misogyny has etched across every era of American culture.”—Kirkus Reviews