Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality, 1920–2020

Pegasus. Aug. 2022. 416p. ISBN 9781639361892. $35. HIST
The history of women’s rights in the U.S. is messy, and historian Griffith’s (In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton) book dives into the tangle of personalities, politics, and passions and surfaces with a great narrative. The author presents both the inspiring and ugly sides of the struggle for equality, including suffragettes who used racism to promote their cause, some in-fighting, and many disagreements on strategies. Excluded from white organizations, women of color formed their own. The fight for women’s rights is presented as a swath of battles by people of different races, classes, and lived experiences, all with different goals reflecting the various needs of women. The book also presents those who stood and still stand opposed to issues like the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights. The book wraps up with a comparison of major issues in 1920 and 2022.
VERDICT This is a fantastic and enjoyable book tracing 100 years of work and struggle for women’s equality. A great book for general readers and a must read for anyone interested in women’s and American political history.
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