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Other titles in the Jewish Women Writers series:
A Life in Motion: A Memoir (Jewish Women Writers)by Florence Howe
"When she was a young instructor at Goucher College, Florence Howe was one day angered by an 'unenlightened' review of a satirical book by William Burroughs in The New Republic, and she fired off a scathing letter to the editor. At the New Yorker, the iconic Mr. Shawn read it and called, insisting that she come into Manhattan; then, he pretty much begged her to write whatever she liked for him. But Howe blew the gold-plated opportunity by penning work so analytic and un-New Yorker-ish that, as she should have known, it could never run. And so died the brilliant writing career of a woman who would instead become one of America's most staunchly independent feminist editors and publishers." Deirdre English, Ms. Magazine (Read the entire Ms. review)
Synopses & Reviews
Florence Howe has led an audacious life: she created a freedom school during the civil rights movement, refused to bow to academic heavyweights who were opposed to sharing power with women, and founded a feminist publishing house at a time when books for and about women were few. Sustained by her relationships with iconic writers like Grace Paley, Tillie Olsen, and Marilyn French, she traveled the world as an emissary for women's empowerment. Howe's memoir spans her eighty years of personal struggle and professional triumphs.
Florence Howe was first introduced to activisim during the civil rights era and helped establish women's studies programs across the country during the early years of the second wave of the feminist movement. In 1970 she founded the Feminist Press and was its publisher until 2006. She is professor emerita of English at the graduate center at the City University of New York, and holds many honors as well as six honorary doctorates, the most recent from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
"The founder of the Feminist Press offers a bifurcated account of her accomplished life. There's her personal life: growing up in a working-class family in Brooklyn in the 1930s, her marriages; her thwarted desire for children and laborious building of a family of close friends, adopted teenage black daughter, and stepsons. Then there's her professional life: teaching, civil rights and antiwar activism, development of women's studies, and her most important project, the Feminist Press, started 40 years ago. Her private and professional lives sometimes intersect, especially in her chapter 'Becoming a Feminist,' but usually she deals with these parts of her life separately. Howe is most enlightening in describing her childhood, with a mother who doted on her son but often treated Howe harshly (perhaps to teach her how hard a woman's life is). Yet after her mother's death, Howe finds that her mother had kept every piece of paper reflecting Howe's achievements. Howe is most comfortable writing about her work with the Feminist Press, how she met the women who became the editors of Women Writing India and Women Writing Africa, as well as her travels to international conferences. Too often, however, the emotional heart of her story is buried underneath the details. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"A Life in Motion is the inside story of the birth of women’s studies as a discipline, the rise of an international feminist movement, and the role of women in publishing and education. A sharp and compelling memoir.” Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association
"If words speak truth we have it here in Florence Howe's long awaited memoir. Out of the pain of childhood, the deprivation, the want, comes the story of a woman's endurance, the voice of a self searching out worlds in which to be, a tale told with startling honesty by one of the founding figures of the US feminist movement, giving us the treasures of a history that might otherwise have been lost." Meena Alexander, author of Fault Lines
"In this bold and courageous memoir Florence Howe transports us across class, gender, race divides — in and out of love, deprivation, and tragedy — along her activist journey toward profoundly creative work, and the abiding love of generations of chosen family. Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion." Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I &Volume II
Book News Annotation:
Women's movement organizer and Feminist Press co-founder Florence Howe recounts her own history, from her girlhood in 1930s Brooklyn, to the founding of the Feminist Press in 1970, to her necessary reflection upon herself in order to write her own memoir in 2008. She considers the cultural expectations of women and thus her own expectations of herself as a young woman in post-war America; her experience as a white northerner teaching young Black students at a Freedom School in Mississippi in the summer of 1964; four very different marriages, their personal and sometimes political repercussions; the many young people whom she adopted, both literally and figuratively; and her ongoing work as an activist, whether from the perspective of gender, race or class. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Founder of the Feminist Press tells her life story as an activist, scholar, and publisher.
About the Author
Florence Howe co-founded The Feminist Press in 1970. She became closely involved with the women's movement after her participation in the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s. A founding mother of the women's studies movement during the 1970s and 1980s, she served as a professor of English at Goucher College and the College at Old Westbury,SUNY.
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