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America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines (P.S.) Paperback – 1 May 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; Reissue edition (May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061227226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061227226
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A fascinating compendium" -- Oprah Magazine

A fascinating compendium --Oprah Magazine

"A fascinating compendium"--Oprah Magazine

"Though America's Women is an easy and entertaining read, it also fulfills the radical promise of women's history."--Chicago Tribune

"Collins offers a fast-paced and entertaining narrative history of American women."--Library Journal

"Illuminating cultural history of American women... Informative and entertaining."--Kirkus Reviews

"This is one of the most fascinating American History books I've ever read. I learned something new on every page."--Huntsville Times

"Masterful...Collins' sly wit and unfussy style makes this historical book extremely accessible."--People

"Gail Collins knows how to tell a story. Lively, witty, and dead serious, this wise history is a fascinating read."--Linda K. Kerber, professor of history, University of Iowa, and author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies

A fascinating compendium --Oprah Magazine"

Masterful...Collins sly wit and unfussy style makes this historical book extremely accessible. --People"

Though America s Women is an easy and entertaining read, it also fulfills the radical promise of women s history. --Chicago Tribune"

Illuminating cultural history of American women... Informative and entertaining. --Kirkus Reviews"

Collins offers a fast-paced and entertaining narrative history of American women. --Library Journal"

This is one of the most fascinating American History books I ve ever read. I learned something new on every page. --Huntsville Times"

Gail Collins knows how to tell a story. Lively, witty, and dead serious, this wise history is a fascinating read. --Linda K. Kerber, professor of history, University of Iowa, and author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies"

About the Author

Gail Collins, a columnist for the New York Times, was the the first woman ever to serve as editorial page editor for the paper. Previously, she was a member of the Times editorial board, and a columnist for the New York Daily News and New York Newsday.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By takingadayoff TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I started skimming through this book to see if I wanted to read it, and I was hooked. This is a history that skips all the boring parts. You can start anywhere and find one fascinating fact after another.
Mae West got her start on stage in a play that she wrote, featuring male transvestites. Sort of the Madonna of her day. When Ignac Paderewski, concert pianist, performed in the 19th century, women rushed the stage to throw corsages at him. Sort of the Tom Jones of his day. American nurses in World War I adapted the absorbent wood pulp bandages used to treat wounds, to create what would become Kotex.
The bibliography in America's Women is marvelously extensive; you can use it for research, or just to get ideas for more interesting reading.
Brava, Gail Collins, for an outstanding book!
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Format: Hardcover
Last September in Fast Company magazine, there was a brief commentary on this book which caught my eye. It cited a number of historical facts of which I had previously been unaware. For example:

1. In 1637 in Virginia, Ann Fowler was sentenced to 20 lashes after she suggested that Adam Thorowgood (a county justice) could "Kiss my arse." The state's General Assembly then ruled that husbands would no longer be liable for damages caused by their outspoken wives.

2. During the 18th century in Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley, impoverished single women with children were required to wear a P (for pauper) when appearing in public.

3. In the 19th century during Civil War era, about 80% of the reading public was female.

4. "In World War II, 1,000 women pilots flew 60 million miles -- mostly in experimental jets and planes grounded for safety reasons --and often towed targets past lines of inexperienced gunners. Then [they] would get arrested for leaving base wearing slacks after dark."

As Collins examines four centuries of historical material, much (most?) of it is probably unfamiliar to most readers. In process, she focuses on various "dolls, drudges, helpmates, and heroines" and their diverse contributions -- both positive and negative -- to the evolution of American history. Although Collins is renowned for her work as a journalist (editorial page editor of the New York Times), she displays in this volume all of the skills of an accomplished historian as well as those of a cultural anthropologist. Also, she's a terrific storyteller.

I wholly agree with Ellen Chesler (who reviewed this book in The New York Times) that "vast scholarship on women has dramatically reshaped academic thinking about American history....
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is readable, entertaining, informative and altogether absolutely unputdownable. I'm not even THAT interested in the subject, but this writer brings everything to life and creates a fascinating historical picture. Not to be missed by anyone who wants a rattling good read.
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