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Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution by Serena Mayeri

Hard Questions Answered

A review by Pamela D. Bridgewater

You've been in that room. We all have. The room that had the air sucked out of it because someone among the feminists present noted that their differences were not being addressed sufficiently, if at all. No conversation screeches to a halt as quickly as when someone raises the issue of difference, whether it's gender identity, class, ethnicity or religion -- but especially when it's racial. For generations, feminists have struggled with these "Ain't I a woman?" intermoments, bracing themselves for reactions that can range from hostility, guilt and defensiveness to responsibility and alliance building.

Many believe that feminism has benefited over the years from such uncomfortable but productive moments -- the hard questions, the unresponsiveness, the denials, the meaningful engagements. Others say the charge that feminism reflects only the aspirations of privileged, straight white women is unfair and has caused irreparable harm to the feminist political movement. Still others...



Previously Reviewed by Ms. Magazine
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Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (Merloyd Lawrence Book) by Sandra Steingraber

Sandra Steingraber's first book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, left reviewers calling her "the new Rachel Carson." It is an apt comparison. Not since 1962, when Carson courageously challenged the chemical industry in Silent Spring, has a...


If Sons, Then Heirs by Lorene Cary

Lorene Cary doesn't shy away from telling complicated stories about race in the United States. In Black Ice, her critically acclaimed memoir of integrating the elite St. Paul's boarding school, and in The Price of a Child, her novel of a slave woman's escape to freedom, she distilled taboo topics...


Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

In Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks once again shows her prodigious gift for the vivid evocation of times long past. Fans of her earlier work, Year of Wonders (set in a 17th century plague-town), People of the Book (about the Sarajevo Haggaddah) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning March (a story of...


Whistleblower by Kathryn Bolkovac

In 1998, Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska police officer trained in forensic science, applied to work with the private military contractor DynCorp on a peacekeeping mission in post-war Bosnia. During her training, she overheard a fellow recruit boast, "And I know where you can get really nice 12- to 15-...


I Love a Broad Margin to My Life by Maxine Hong Kingston

This book, her last, she hints, is a journey though the writings, the past and present lives, the very heart and soul of National Book Award-winner Maxine Hong Kingston, author of the acclaimed Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. She gives us this precious gift: a memoir as poem and...


The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother's Hidden Life by Jasmin Darznik

Using her mother's recollections, culled from cassette tapes and her own childhood memories, Darznik shows how the lives of three generations of Iranian women were proscribed by politics and patriarchy. Her book distinguishes itself from the plethora of recent Iranian American memoirs, most written ...


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...


Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Young-adult fiction is influential; women and men often act out stories they read as teens. But try finding feminism in popular fantasies such as Stephenie Meyers' Twilight, or communities of color in Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter series. Nnedi Okorafor's books are a welcome contrast. The...


Some Sing, Some Cry by Shange Ntozake and Ifa Bayeza

Ntozake Shange is best known for "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf," a play/poem that radically reshaped the black female narrative by stripping away the armor of popular images and examining the individual pain and uncertainty underneath. Her genius was...


Who Should Be First (10 Edition) by Guy-sheftall

The 2008 presidential campaign not only tested our nation's readiness for change, it catapulted feminists into a firestorm of competing priorities. Much was at stake for racial- and gender-identity politics in the Democratic primaries that pitted then-Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama...


A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot by Mary Walton

The Lady Matador's Hotel by Cristina Garcia

The Grace of Silence Signed Edition by Michele Norris

Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War by Cynthia Enloe

The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (The Millennium Trilogy #3) by Stieg Larsson

Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation Is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America (10 Edition) by Kathleen Gerson

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran by Haleh Esfandiari

The Fat Studies Reader by Esther Rothblum

Feminism, Inc.: Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture by Emilie Zaslow

Till We Can Keep an Animal by Megan Voysey-Braig

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia by Stephanie Covington Armstrong

Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes by Gerald N. Callahan

I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde by Rudolph P. Byrd

When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage by M V Badgett

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me? (Chicana Matters) by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez

The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq by Helen Benedict

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Child Will Be Great (09 Edition) by Sirleaf

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti

The Vagrants by Yiyun Li

A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx by Elaine Showalter

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Boycotts, Buses, and Passes: Black Women's Resistance in the U.S. South and South Africa by Pamela E. Brooks

Your Money and Your Life: The High Stakes for Women Voters in '08 and Beyond by Martha Burk

Love Marriage by V. V. Ganeshananthan

The Lolita Effect: Why the Media Sexualize Young Girls and What You Can Do about It by M. Gigi Durham

The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

Sexual Reckonings : Southern Girls in a Troubling Age (07 Edition) by Susan K. Cahn

Caspian Rain by Gina Nahai

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women by Caryl Rivers

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein

Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System by Silja J. A. Talvi

The Cleft by Doris May Lessing

Sexual Decoys: Gender, Race and War in Imperial Democracy by Zillah Eisenstein

A Handbook to Luck by Cristina Garcia

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip Hop's Hold on Young Black Women by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route by Saidiya Hartman

Ines of My Soul: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Secondhand World by Katherine Min

Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai


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