50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution

Knopf. Sept. 2023. 544p. ed. by Katherine Spillar. ISBN 9780593321560. $50. HIST
Ms. magazine executive editor Spillar (exec. dir., Feminist Majority Foundation) celebrates the publication she leads with this compilation of well-chosen essays from the magazine’s first 50 years. Starting with Ms.’s founding in the 1970s, the collection moves through the decades to the present day, addressing subjects such as marriage, abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment, violence against women, divorce, wealth, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more. Many essays illuminate the experiences of women of color and marginalized communities. Each section opens with a short essay that places the content within the context of Ms.’s history, illustrating how the publication navigated revenue issues, advertising problems, editorial independence, and the online era. There are also sidebars that add historical or cultural context. Many of the essays are written by feminist luminaries such as Gloria Steinem, Audre Lorde, Joyce Carol Oates, and Alison Bechdel. This book also includes poetry, illustrations, and letters from readers showcasing reactions to the magazine’s content.
VERDICT A timely and thought-provoking collection of feminist essays, which shows how far society has come and how much work is left to do to obtain true gender equality.
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