Synopses & Reviews
"Two British journalists (the Sunday Times) have assembled an edifying, historically astute, yet still entertaining collection of pieces written by women from diverse periodicals throughout the 20th century from both sides of the Atlantic. So-called women's concerns dominate the subject categories, such as 'Home & Family' (e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt's 'My Day') and 'Sex & Body Image' (e.g., Angela Carter's 'Fat Is Ugly'), although the most riveting selections cover war and politics, such as Martha Gellhorn's 'Dachau' and Marie Colvin's 'The Arafat I Knew.' Emma Goldman's floridly righteous anti-WWI essay 'The Promoters of the War Mania' sets a thunderous tone; Nellie Bly's 'Ten Days in a Madhouse' (1888) is the earliest selection, and suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst and even Zelda Fitzgerald ('What Became of the Flappers?') make appearances. Notable American writers are well represented, including Mary McCarthy ('Report from Vietnam'), Erica Jong ('Hillary's Husband Re-elected') and Joan Didion ('On Self-Respect'), and a few appear in surprising ways, such as novelists Djuna Barnes, in her early career as a gonzo journalist, recounting her experience being forcibly fed as a jailed suffragist (1914), and Anne Tyler in a hilarious character sendup of Maryland governor Marvin Mandel on trial (1977)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Since their emergence as a journalistic force after the world wars, women have continued to break new ground in newspapers and magazines, redefining the world as we see it as well as the craft as it applied. Many of the pieces in Journalistas feel almost unsettlingly relevant todaythe conclusions Emma "Red" Goldman drew in her 1916, "the Social Aspects of Birth Control," Maddy Vegtel's 1930s article about becoming pregnant at forty, and Eleanor Roosevelt's call for greater tolerance after America's race riots in 1943. Many have pushed other limits: Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth brought feminism to a new generation; Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones caused a media revolution: Ruth Picardie's unflinchingly honest column about living with cancer in 1997 brought a wave of British candor and a host of imitators; and when two iconic women come face to face, we have at one end, Dorothy Parker on Isadora Duncan (1928), and at the other, Julie Burchill on Margaret Thatcher (2004).