Takin' it to the Streets.
Booklist Reviews 2005 August #1
This fascinating collective biography features in-depth sketches of five indispensable leaders of the American suffrage movement. Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul--stalwarts in the struggle to extend fundamental rights and freedoms to females--are profiled in turn. Although these women are identified with the famous movements they founded and the radical causes they espoused, Baker breathes new life into subjects that have become somewhat fossilized and sanitized over time. Viewing them through a revitalized historical lens, she concentrates on the private lives and personal connections that contributed to the formation of their staunch beliefs and ambitions. The fact that they each led lives that were influenced by childhood circumstances, divergent personalities, robust love interests, bitter disagreements, powerful friendships, incredible triumphs, and overwhelming tragedies is significant to understanding the ebb and flow of the movement they were responsible for keeping afloat for well over half a century. ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2005 September #1
From the 1840s to the 1920s, a succession of strong and articulate women in America defied convention and called upon lawmakers to grant women the right to vote. In this concise monograph, Baker (history, Goucher Coll.; Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography ) examines the personal and professional lives of five of the most famous leaders of the battle for American women's suffrage: Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul. Individual chapters, most of which could be read as standalone pieces, examine each woman's motivations and attitudes; relationships with parents, siblings, and male and female lovers; strategies to win the vote; advocacy of other reforms; and relationships with other activists, placing them within the historical and political context. Based on some manuscript sources, but relying mainly on secondary materials, this popular treatment deals with women and a movement that have been much studied already and brings little new information to light. However, the book's close examination of the personal lives and motivations of the leaders may intrigue those new to the topic. Recommended only for the largest academic and public libraries.--Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.[Page 152]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2005 July #2
This lively, succinct overview of the five activists most responsible for securing the vote for American women is a welcome, intellectually sophisticated addition to feminist history. Baker, a respected historian at Goucher College, presents five interconnected critical biographical essays on Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard and Alice Paul. Baker's effortless blending of personal narrative with political and historical analysis-a technique she perfected in her groundbreaking 1987 Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography-works to great effect, not only vividly brings these women to life but explicating the complicated social and political framework in which they existed. For instance, she traces Frances Willard's evangelical feminist style and interests to her devotion to her mother and to her father's calling to be a minister during the Second Great Awakening. Baker knows a good story, such as the highly respectable Stanton's friendship with notorious free-lover Victoria Woodhull; Baker highlights both the story's drama and historical significance. While she doesn't ignore complex themes-such as the thorny relationship suffrage organizing had to the enfranchisement of African-American men-she often downplays them. Still, Baker has written a popular (yet scrupulously footnoted), smart and compelling book. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.