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Letters to a Young Feminist Paperback – 9 Dec 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows (9 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581514
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,120,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

Advance praise for LETTERS TO A YOUNG FEMINIST
"A warm, personal, political, irresistible guide for young feminists, women and men. As a pioneering author and activist, Phyllis Chesler marks with flowers of wisdom the path she helped clear..." -- Gloria Steinem

"A call to arms in epistolary form... Evenhanded... Chesler doesn't mince words... Chesler's analysis is cogent throughout, and these essays are laced with compelling nuggets from one who has been on the front lines of the feminist movement for several decades." -- Publishers Weekly

"I intend to give this book to my sixteen-year-old granddaughter, who will know very well how to relate its deep experience and insights into the past to her present and to her imagined future." -- Jill Johnston, author of LESBIAN NATION

"The sweet, clear voice of these Letters should reach across the generation gap like Joshua's trumpet. This is Phyllis Chesler writing at the top of her form." -- Susan Brownmiller, author of AGAINST OUR WILL

"This is quintessential Chesler -- audacious, courageous, tough -- but with a gentle undertone of nostalgia for the struggles of her (and our) youth in the women's movement. Feminists young and old have a lot to learn from this book." -- Letty Cotton Pogrebin, author and founding editor of "Ms." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Aug. 2000
Format: Hardcover
I came across this book while browsing the section on feminist literature (for teenagers). I ordered it immediately and read it eagerly. I must even admit I walked into a couple of lampposts while reading it in the street... I loved it. I felt identified with much of what I read and I thought a lot about the advice, insight and "life lessons" the author provides. I believe she has managed to give a critical and honest perspective of the mistakes and achievements of the previous generations of feminists. I think that such a perspective is determinant to help the new generations find their path, their way and their place in the Women's Movement. We are so used to accepting society the way it is that we sometimes forget to question what is established or to adopt a critical view towards what is expected and required from us. Reading this book, I was able to understand what has been done and what is still left to do. It also helped me to learn what my generation could do and how and when it can act. So, I can say that "Letters to a Young Feminist" has been a major influence on me. I was 16 when I read it (I'm 18 now) and I believe it can be a very positive influence for other teenagers (girls and boys) and adults. Don't hesitate to buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Sept. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Phyllis Chesler reminds the third wave precisely what feminism is and why it is so vitally important that feminists not lose sight of their goals. She presents the second wave's foundation and history in a manner that does not require the reader to be versed in feminist thought, all the while outlining their successes and failures. Her suggestions and warnings are composed from the wisdom of experience not merely as a to-do list. This might possibly be the third wave's defining moment: a volume of wealth is contained within these pages, and one must choose to do more than just read it.
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By A Customer on 15 Dec. 1998
Format: Hardcover
For a book that's supposed to be geared toward young feminists, Chesler doesn't quite make it. It's really a historical text full of horror stories about sexism endured by second-wave feminists. It's interesting and important reading, but much of the prose gives off the typical self-absorbed baby boomer vibe and quickly grows tired. Chesler has a great grasp of what her generation's feminists accomplished (and didn't accomplish). But she doesn't seem to address or even discuss the challenges facing today's young woman. It's really more of a history book than a bridge to the third wave of feminists.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful source of wisdom, advice and knowledge 20 Aug. 2000
By Maria do Mar Pereira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I came across this book while browsing the section on feminist literature (for teenagers). I ordered it immediately and read it eagerly. I must even admit I walked into a couple of lampposts while reading it in the street... I loved it. I felt identified with much of what I read and I thought a lot about the advice, insight and "life lessons" the author provides. I believe she has managed to give a critical and honest perspective of the mistakes and achievements of the previous generations of feminists. I think that such a perspective is determinant to help the new generations find their path, their way and their place in the Women's Movement. We are so used to accepting society the way it is that we sometimes forget to question what is established or to adopt a critical view towards what is expected and required from us. Reading this book, I was able to understand what has been done and what is still left to do. It also helped me to learn what my generation could do and how and when it can act. So, I can say that "Letters to a Young Feminist" has been a major influence on me. I was 16 when I read it (I'm 18 now) and I believe it can be a very positive influence for other teenagers (girls and boys) and adults. Don't hesitate to buy it!
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I wish I had read this sooner. 30 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Phyllis Chesler reminds the third wave precisely what feminism is and why it is so vitally important that feminists not lose sight of their goals. She presents the second wave's foundation and history in a manner that does not require the reader to be versed in feminist thought, all the while outlining their successes and failures. Her suggestions and warnings are composed from the wisdom of experience not merely as a to-do list. This might possibly be the third wave's defining moment: a volume of wealth is contained within these pages, and one must choose to do more than just read it.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Patronizing and inept 29 Nov. 2001
By Robin Orlowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this offering, Chesler, the author of 1972's ground breaking "Women and Madness" attempts to connect with my generation and inspire us to become better activists from her mistakes.
It's a great concept... if overlooking the blatantly condescending tone throughout the book. Unlike Steinem, Pogrebin, Davis, hooks, etc.. Chesler conveniently forgets that we have lived through the changes wrought by her generation and thus do not want to return to the old days.
Although the book is written as a series of conversations , it actually comes off as a stern one-sided lecture where our interjections of knowlledge are not solicited nor welcomed. This self-contratulatory platitude continues despite evidence that generations of people intentionally raised on feminist principles are comming of age, and therefore are more aware of gender issues than she chooses to realize.
In fact, we are less likely to perceive those changes in women's status as threatening because of having grown up alongside them. Feminism is a natural language for my generation, and the activist among us are already intimately fammilar with the basics repitiously presented in this book.
Additionally, we have our own subculture of feminist industries (Riot Grrrl Music, independent zines, webpages, and prolific writers/public speakers) demonstrating that we know the battle has not completely been won, and previously secured rights must continuously be defended.
Instead of issuing an angry and self-righteous screed, the least she could have done was familiarize herself with our work, and our feminist culture. Even if the words and issues are not exactly identical to those of her generation, our contributions to feminist thought are no less valid and deserve to be treated seriously.
Because this aforementioned young feminist culture was exposed to the mainstream light in the 1990's partly from the influence of popular artists such as the late Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)-it is difficult to believe Chesler did not know young feminists were organizing or there were projects (such as Rock for Choice) that were continuing the work her generation had begun decades earlier.
With a more proactive and realistic perspective on youth organizing, she could have reached out to my generation, but the patronizing tone effectively undercut whatever sincerity she may have had for helping continue activism. Although she played an important role in the past, this book suggests she will be unable to make different future contributions.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Extremely patronizing book 25 Sept. 2004
By Keri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Chesler's tone is so patronizing here. Third wave feminists did not just step out of a cave, the older amongst us (those now in our later 30's to early 40's like myself) saw these events unfold as children and it's throughly seared in our minds. Ms. Chesler ignores the fact that in the 1987 March for Reproductive Rights on Washington DC, in which 500,000 women marched, 2/3 were then under 30 years old (the third wave feminists, this was our first major- in numbers present, activist appearence) This book tempted me to write a letter FROM a young feminist. But I decided not to, because if Ms. Chesler was determined to ignore third wave feminists, despite much activism by us, a letter refuting her claims of our ignorance wasn't going to open her eyes. Readers are better to choose books by second wave feminists that are better written and informed, like Gloria Steinem's. I'd also recommend books by older third wavers like Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I always read the enemy's mail. If you want ... 11 Sept. 2014
By David S. Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always read the enemy's mail. If you want to understand what radical feminists are up to, this is the book to read.
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