VOYA - Florence H. MunatEach volume in this oAmerican Voiceso series offers an overview of an area of U.S. Historyincluding Colonial Life, the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Depression, the Wild West, and the Cold Warfocusing on "voices," or primary sources, from these times. The narratives give background information and link the documents, which include newspaper and magazine articles, diaries, letters, legal documents, and speeches. Each primary source is followed by two or three "Think About This" questions, which reinforce the documents' meanings and ramifications. A volume begins with an explanation of primary sources and suggestions for "How to Read a Primary Source." An introduction gives a summary of the topic, followed by chapters that chronologically describe the subject matter. Although each book has a different author, the narrative voices are consistent, as is format and style. In addition to a glossary, difficult words are defined in brackets. Women's Movement tracks two major "waves" of activity-the first linked to the anti-slavery movement and the second to the Civil Rights movement. Some subjects covered are the expansion of female education, temperance, dress reform, abolition, suffrage, the trial of Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger's push for birth control, the post-war Happy Homemaker Myth exploded by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and Phyllis Schlafly's anti-ERA campaign. The topic of feminism has accrued some negative connotations, but this treatment describes how most changes in women's status have been mainstream. The continuing wage gap indicates that the movement still has work to accomplish. Other series titles discuss the Civil War, the Reconstruction, theGreat Depression, and the Vietnam era among other subjects. These books offer overviews of topics, with the unique perspective of primary source materials. They will be useful for classroom discussions, lesson plans, and student reports.
Children's Literature - Meredith KigerThis interesting account of the Women's Movement in America is an excellent use of historical or "primary" sources to trace its origins and development. After an introduction on the use of primary sources and an historical overview of various political periods of activity, the story begins with the arrival of European settlers in America and the view of a woman's "place" at the time. Young readers will find it difficult to fathom women could not vote, own property, or have a voice in public matters. The book notes that Abigal Adams was one of the first women to question the constitutional rights of women, but fails to tell the reader her maiden name. The rest of the book follows the development of women's political voices as they first became involved in antislavery, the right to vote, wartime employment, sex discrimination, abortion, and other issues. Leaders of the various movements over the years are emphasized and the book's inclusion of numerous black-and-white and color period photos and illustrations are essential for young readers to grasp some meaning from it all. Throughout, the book provides questions for readers under "Think About This" headings, offering excellent points for classroom or family discussions. It is interesting reading even for those who already know the story, especially the quotes from actual participants. A useful pictorial time line, glossary, listing of resources and Web sites, and an extensive index are included.
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