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Publishers WeeklyStansell largely blames the breaks in the long narrative of women's struggle for equality in America on "historical amnesia" that erased a sense that "the past was backing them up" and left each generation to forge new approaches without a record of prior feminist thought and action. Stansell's comprehensive history tracks major and minor moments that highlight promise both realized and unmet. Beginning with the release of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and concluding with the connection of modern American feminism to global human rights, Stansell constructs a sweeping narrative that puts the accomplishments of specific players, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the oft-overlooked Maria Stewart, into a larger historical context, and also chronicles leaders, organizations, and acts of protest that defined feminism in the 20th century. She examines the partnership between abolition and suffrage that led to respective political victories and indentifies the missteps (like an early partnership with white supremacists) that compromised progress, creating a truly balanced history for future generations. The volume's breadth means some details and individuals are lost, but in plotting the points of a long overdue narrative, Stansell fulfills her promise.
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