Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biography

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Emmeline Pankhurst was perhaps the most influential woman of the twentieth century. Today her name is synonymous with the 'votes for women' campaign and she is remembered as the most brave and inspirational suffrage leader in history. In this absorbing account of her life both before and after suffrage, June Purvis documents her early political work, her active role within the suffrage movement and her role as a wife and mother within her family.
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Editorial Reviews

Sandra Holton
Here is a fresh, engaging and provocative study of this puzzling, passionate and controversial figure...both an accessible introduction ot the general reader and an informed and informative discussion for the specialist in the field. Not everyone will agree with all of the conclusions, but now, at last, readers are provided with a breadth of material and interpretation that will allow them to make up their own minds.
Library Journal
Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes were far and away the most militant feminists in Great Britain in the early 20th century. They smashed windows, spent months in jail, and endured such extreme hunger strikes that the government resorted to force feeding them. And their militancy worked. Under Pankhurst's leadership, the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) won the parliamentary vote for women in Great Britain. Purvis, frustrated by previous historians' attempts to diminish Pankhurst's achievements, offers a detailed account of the WSPU leader's daring approach to militancy and argues that partial enfranchisement would not have been granted in 1918 without Pankhurst's leadership. "What is frequently overlooked," says Purvis, "is that Emmeline and her militants changed the way in which women were perceived by people generally, including politicians." The narrative occasionally gets bogged down in stiff prose and too much detail to maintain an easy forward momentum; nevertheless, the book offers a needed revisionist view of a bold and charismatic feminist leader. Suitable for academic libraries. Amy Strong, South Portland, ME Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
'What Purvis does for Emmeline Pankhurst in her new biography is to provide a detailed, scrupulous, excellently researched retelling of the story, and thus offer a vindication of the woman.' - Michael Foot, The Guardian

'The product of careful and thorough research, offering in many respects an important corrective to established views ... Purvis has tracked down surviving letters in many scattered collections, as well as patiently trawling through newspaper reports of Emmeline's speeches, and gaining exclusive access to the late Jill Craigie's collection of suffrage material' - Mark Bostridge, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415239783
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Series: Women's and Gender History Series
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Childhood and young womanhood (1858-1879) 9
2 Marriage and entry into political life (1880-March 1887) 18
3 Political hostess (June 1887-1892) 25
4 Socialist and public representative (1893-1897) 39
5 Widowhood and employment (1898-February 1903) 51
6 Foundation and early years of the WSPU (March 1903-January 1906) 65
7 To London (February 1906-June 1907) 79
8 Autocrat of the WSPU? (July 1907-September 1908) 96
9 Emmeline and Christabel (October 1908-January 1909) 113
10 'A new and more heroic plane' (January-September 1909) 122
11 Personal sorrow and fortitude (September 1909-early January 1911) 135
12 The truce renewed (January-November 1911) 155
13 The women's revolution (November 1911-June 1912) 173
14 Break with the Pethick Lawrences (July-October 1912) 190
15 Honorary treasurer of the WSPU and agitator (October 1912-April 1913) 200
16 Prisoner of the Cat and Mouse Act (April-August 1913) 217
17 Ousting of Sylvia and a fresh start for Adela (August 1913-January 1914) 232
18 Fugitive (January-August 1914) 250
19 War work and a second family (September 1914-June 1917) 268
20 War emissary to Russia: Emmeline versus the Bolsheviks (June-October 1917) 292
21 Leader of the Women's Party (November 1917-June 1919) 300
22 Lecturer in North America and defender of the British Empire (September 1919-December 1925) 318
23 Last years: Conservative parliamentary candidate (1926-June 1928) 339
24 Niche in history 354
Notes 364
Select bibliography 418
Index 430
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