Newcomer Zimet—founder of 2020: Project Women, a nonprofit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—and writer Hasak-Lowy present a compact composite portrait of the women who fought to secure voting rights for women. Tracking the turbulent path to the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, the authors explain how the suffrage movement had its roots in abolitionism, dealt with schisms due to diverging philosophies, navigated changing political landscapes, and contended with sexism, which “simply described how the county worked back then.” Quotations from the crusaders’ writings and speeches bring their personalities into focus: “I forged the thunderbolts and she fired them,” said Elizabeth Cady Stanton of working with Susan B. Anthony. Sidebars spotlight additional suffragists, as well as contemporaneous campaigns and organizations. A conversational tone (one gathering begins with an indignant Stanton, “as we might say today, losing it”) makes this primer all the more accessible and relevant, as does the observation that, with the proposed Equal Rights Amendment still in limbo, the struggle for women’s rights is in no way over. Ages 10–up. Author’s agent: (for Zimet) Amy Berkower, Writers House; (for Hasak-Lowy) Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Jan.)
Gr 6–8—Zimet tells the story of the women's suffrage movement in the United States beginning with the efforts of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott and concluding with an epilog about the Equal Rights Amendment. Zimet does not idolize the movement or the women involved. She reveals their complexities by discussing their marital and family choices, their racial backgrounds, their personality and generational differences, and their opinions on how efforts were to be organized. Readers will be captivated from beginning to end, in large part due to sidebars with titles such as "Know Your Radicals." Zimet deftly exposes readers to the strengths and flaws of these women, particularly the racist attitudes held by some of the white leaders. In a "Putting It in Perspective" section, Zimet highlights the racial divide surrounding voting rights, noting that universal suffrage did not occur until the 1960s; however, the suffrage struggles of Native American women are not mentioned. In addition, the word massacre is used in reference to the murder of Anne Hutchinson and her family. Zimet's position on women's rights is evident, yet her passion does not overshadow the story. VERDICT This engaging book educates, but it is slight on the history of voting rights for women of color.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
With Hasak-Lowy, Zimet, a founding member of Votes for Women 2020, an organization dedicated to, in part, celebrating the 100th anniversary of American women's right to vote, explores the decadeslong battle for suffrage and its many leaders. Although the account begins rather typically with a profile of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her burgeoning activism, it expands quickly, indicating how long women had been pushing for political freedom and how complicated their fight has been. Each chapter is its own contained lesson covering pivotal moments and key figures, extended by perfectly placed insets headed "Putting it in Perspective" or "Know Your Radicals." The connection between suffrage and abolition is probed, as well as how racist attitudes—including among movement leaders—damaged the cause. The focus here is almost exclusively on white suffragists. The movement suffered schisms and lost momentum even as more states granted suffrage. The fight was reinvigorated with a new generation of activists such as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who picketed the White House, were jailed and beaten, went on hunger strikes, and employed other protest techniques that are used today. When the final fight for ratification of the 19th Amendment is recounted (supporters wore yellow roses; opponents, red), readers will be as anxious and invested as their forebears were. Never melodramatic, this is a timely, eye-opening history. (foreword, introduction, epilogue, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
Praise for Roses and Radicals by Susan Zimet:
"My mother said, 'Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.' Roses and Radicals is a must read about the history of the suffragist movement in America-the oppression of women-and the good, the bad, and the ugly relating to their struggle for the right to vote. It is not just a book for women, but for everyone, especially future generations because when we don't know our history, we may sadly repeat it."
—Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center, Daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King
"From Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Alice Paul and every crucial suffragist in between, Susan Zimet's Roses and Radicals offers a comprehensive and compelling account of a truly collective victory more than seventy years in the making. Zimet unpacks all of the intricacies of the suffrage movement, never shying away from its flaws, turbulent partnerships, and differing dogmas. For those tempted to label it an important book for young girls, think more broadly; it is an important book for all of us."
—Tanya Lee Stone, Sibert Medalist and NAACP Image Award-winning auhtor of, most recently, Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time
"The brave women and men who fought so hard for women's right to vote show us how to be brave when we need it the most. Which is always. Roses and Radicals is a must read for all kids and citizens!"
—Andrea Beaty, award-winning author of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer
“It took more than seventy years for women to win the right to vote in the United States. Roses and Radicals shows the persistence and perseverance it took through the stories of the women who fought to make it happen. Now more than ever we all need to know this story.”
—Deborah Heiligman, National Book Award Finalist and Printz Honor-winning author of Charles and Emma and Vincent and Theo
“Susan Zimet, in her thoroughly researched Roses and Radicals, clearly and concisely lays down the huge complicated shocking thread of American history, while delivering a subtle yet inspiring message.”
—Patricia Hruby Powell, Sibert and Boston Globe Horn Book Honor-winning author of Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker and of Loving vs. Virginia
“Roses and Radicals isn't just the story of women's journey to suffrage, it's completing history and how a few bold women made America fulfill its promise of democracy. Charming and full of detail, the book is like eavesdropping on friends from another era.
—Amy Richards, author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism & the Future and consulting producer of MAKERS
“An expert and exciting telling of one of the biggest stories in American history.”
—Steve Sheinkin,three-time National Book Award Finalist and author of, most recently, Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
“Required reading for any young feminist—and everyone else, too.”
—Vanessa Wruble, Co-founder, Women’s March on Washington
★ "With the 100th anniversary of the amendment’s passage coming up in 2020, the book is very timely." —School Library Connection, starred review
★ "There are many books about the women's suffrage movement and the leaders who pushed, marched, insisted, and persisted until voting rights became a reality. But few offer such a comprehensive overview while still being appealingly accessible to a middle-grade audience."
—Booklist, starred review
"She [Zimet] reveals their complexities by discussing their marital and family choices, their racial backgrounds, their personality and generational differences, and their opinions on how efforts were to be organized. Readers will be captivated from beginning to end." —School Library Journal
"A timely, eye-opening history." —Kirkus Reviews
"A conversational tone. . .makes this primer all the more accessible and relevant, as does the observation that, with the proposed Equal Rights Amendment still in limbo, the struggle for women’s rights is in no way over." —Publishers Weekly
"Zimet’s use of narrative techniques in this work of nonfiction brings this history to life and, often, it makes for an exciting read." —VOYA