A Nation of Women: An Early Feminist Speaks Out

Books on Tape. Sept. 2021. 7:13 hrs. ISBN 9780593393413. $57. MEMOIR
Originally published in Spanish in 1911, this groundbreaking essay collection is considered the first feminist treatise in Puerto Rico and one of the very first in Latin America and the Caribbean. From impassioned demands for women’s equality and worker’s rights, to personal musings on romantic love and motherhood, this wide-ranging yet slim collection is a window into early 20th-century political thought, as well as a look into the life of a fascinating historical figure. Perhaps most widely known for being arrested for wearing pants in public, Capetillo (1879–1922) was a dedicated labor organizer, socialist, anarchist, literary figure, and activist who was influential in her time but whose legacy is all but forgotten. Editor Felix V. Matos brings her writings into the present with an introduction that puts Capetillo’s remarkable life into context, and a translation that illuminates her work for a new generation and an English-language audience. Matos reads the introduction, and Melanie Martinez reads Capetillo’s essays, both narrating with clarity and conviction, giving this work the attention and respect it deserves.
VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in early 20th-century Puerto Rican and Caribbean history and the history of feminism and labor movements in Latin America.
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