These profiles of 14 contemporary women activists who have sacrificed comfortable lives to fight publicly for their principles present moving, inspiring examples of individuals doing something concrete to control their lives and improve society. Part of a growing breed of independent women activists, they are working to protect their families and neighborhoods, oppose unsafe nuclear power, and challenge unsound corporate and government policies. "It's taken a long time to recognize the fact that women are the great organizers and activists...Here are the women; here is a teaching book and an engaing work."-Grace Paley
This account of various inspiring achievements accomplished through grassroots activism is a welcome tonic for individuals who despair of making an impact on the big problems of our times. Garland, a freelance journalist, specifically focuses on women because they are ``the vocal, passionate leaders in fights against toxic waste dumps, against nuclear power, and against nuclear weapons.'' She sensitively charts 14 personal paths to activism, frequently including long quotations to allow her subjects to relate a story in their own words. Maria Fava and Mildred Tudy bridge racial gaps in Brooklyn communities through the National Congress of Neighborhood Women; in the wake of her premature baby's death, Cathy Hinds battles politicians and corporations over a toxic waste dump near her Maine home. The chapter on the Greenham Common women's ``peace camp'' movingly demonstrates how global issues are often highly personal. The excellent introduction by Farenthold, a founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, places Garland's interviewees in a larger context and indicates the common aims, motives and methods that unite their disparate efforts. June
This collection of biographical essays on U.S. women activists is unusual. It presents the political struggles of individual women as unique to their local situations and as also shaping an implicitly collective struggle against racism, sexism, classism, poverty, government inadequacy, and corporate corruption. While these ``ordinary women'' share an interest in individual rights and justice, each defines herself differently as a feminist and activist. Empowered by anger against toxic waste dumping, forced relocations, or nuclear weapons, these women see their courageous and frequently dangerous activism as a common-sense response to unacceptable conditions; this book celebrates their diversity and common vision. Mollie Brodsky, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.