Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

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Overview

Girls to the Front is the epic, definitive history of Riot Grrrl—the radical feminist uprising that exploded into the public eye in the 1990s and included incendiary punk bands Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear. A dynamic chronicle not just a movement but an era, this is the story of a group of pissed—off girls with no patience for sexism and no intention of keeping quiet.

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Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

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Overview

Girls to the Front is the epic, definitive history of Riot Grrrl—the radical feminist uprising that exploded into the public eye in the 1990s and included incendiary punk bands Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear. A dynamic chronicle not just a movement but an era, this is the story of a group of pissed—off girls with no patience for sexism and no intention of keeping quiet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Brooklyn-based journalist gives a brash, gutsy chronicle of the empowering music and feminist movement of the early 1990s led by young women rock groups like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Politicized by such national events as the backlash against feminism in the press, the first Iraq War, and the Supreme Court's gearing up to review Roe v. Wade, young women were incensed. Kathleen Hanna, a college student from Olympia, Wash., was spurred to action after interviewing writer Kathy Acker and working for a domestic violence shelter, and she decided to start a band. Hanna, along with Tobi Vail, a fanzine writer (Jigsaw) and former punk rocker who was dating Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, were on a mission to spread female rebellion via their band, Bikini Kill. Meanwhile, Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman, who had met at the University of Oregon, were in Washington, D.C., cobbling together their own band, Bratmobile. Thus, writes Marcus in this compelling account, the Grrrl Revolution was sparked. Marcus enthusiastically tracks the "scattered cartographies of rebellion" and captures the combustible excitement of this significant if short-lived moment. (Oct.)
HTMLGIANT
“One hell of an empowering read. . . . A scorching history of the Riot Grrrl movement. . . . There’s inspiration here. Read this book and feel it—a renewed energy, in talking about the roles women play in the scenes that we live in today.”
Bitch Magazine
“Stirring. . . . Eloquent. . . . Like Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain did in Please Kill Me. . . Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front tells the story of riot grrrl, one person at a time.”
Venus Zine
Girls to the Front is more than just a historical account of the riot grrrl movement. It is a reliving. For those who missed the happenings of that era, this book will make you feel as though you were right there.”
The Los Angeles Times
“Exhilarating. . . . Girls to the Front is the well-documented history Riot Grrrl deserves. . . . Marcus writes with the empathy, grace, and balance of a good war correspondent. . . . Her book will undoubtedly prompt a whole new generation of teenage girls.”
Vanity Fair
“A historical rockument of the revolutionary 90s counterculture Riot Grrrl movement. . . . A rousing inspiration for a new generation of empowered rebel girls to strap on guitars and stick it to The Man.”
Rolling Stone
“A fascinaqting social history. . . . In her impassioned study, Marcus focuses on the girls in the crowd as much as stars like Bikini Kill, placing the story in the context of liberalism’s post-Reagan crisis and mapping a civilization of Xeroxed jeremiads.”
Vivian Gornick
“For a Second Wave feminist like myself, Girls to the Front evokes wonderfully the way the generation after mine soaked up the promise and the punishment of feminist consciousness: all in all, a richly moving story.”
Brenda Wineapple
“Original, witty, idealistic and down-to-earth, Girls to the Front is a chronicle of women, girls, music, sexism—and, best of all, what it means to be alive. Reader take heart: Feminism is not dead.”
Eileen Myles
“Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front is a great & true & real history. Thank God. At last.”
Kim Gordon
“Feminism seems to change every five years. It’s hard to grasp the movement. . . . Girls to the Front is not just a keeper of the flame but brings you to yr own fire.”
Johanna Fateman
“Ambitious and convincing. . . . Girls to the Front makes narrative sense out of events that had so far been recorded only in mythic, unverified, and fragmentary form.”
Allison Wolfe
“A painstakingly researched and well thought-out tribute to a punk feminist era Sara Marcus clearly holds dear. . . . It should be heralded as an uncannily insightful revelation of the motivations and inner-workings of Riot Grrrl.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Marcus has done a commendable job of telling the little-known history of an important social and cultural movement. . . . A compelling history.”
Booklist
"Marcus has done a commendable job of telling the little-known history of an important social and cultural movement. . . . A compelling history."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061806360
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 367
  • Sales rank: 137,907
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Marcus is a write and musician living in Brooklyn, New York. Her prose and poetry have appeared in publications including Slate, Time Out New York, The Advocate, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Heeb, where she was the politics editor for five years. Marcus received an MFA from Columbia University.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book was amazing to read! Unfortunately, I was too young wh

    This book was amazing to read! Unfortunately, I was too young when this movement happened, but I'm still amazed at the strength and creativity of these riot grrrls. I love it when girls are in bands and make their own music. It's a very strong action in a world where girls and women are supposed to be silent and never use their voice. I love Bikini Kill, and I was happy to read about the other riot grrrl bands as well such as Bratmobile and Huggy Bear. I am definitely going to check them out.

    I think Sara Marcus did an excellent job detailing the origins and events surrounding the riot grrrl revolution. As she points out toward the conclusion, she included everything that she knows happened. It was hard to read the tense moments toward the end when several of the girls started losing touch and the real cause of the movement seemed lost on some of them. The question of race and class is also brought up in the book, which caused conflict later on in the movement.

    I think this book is a great read for feminists and those interested in women's studies. It's also a great read for those who love music and art, since riot grrrl depended heavily on music and zines. Reading about the feminist zines has inspired me to make my own and to purchase other zines as well.

    Overall, a wonderful and informative book that completely enraptured me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Good overview. Nook formatting doesn't link to footnotes which is frustrating.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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