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review 2018-09-22 20:59
Things A Bright Girl Can Do - Sally Nicholls

Book Blurb: 1914 The worlds stand on the edge of change. But women still have no vote. Evelyn is rich and clever, but she isn’t allowed to go to university. Life is set out for her, but Evelyn wants freedom and choice, even if it means paying the highest price alongside her fellow Suffragettes. Meanwhile, May campaigns tirelessly for women’s votes with other anti-violence suffragists. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women can find their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could imagine. As the Great War looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

 

What I thought: It was a good read. You can tell that the book is well-researched. I did find it, though, a bit PC-ish that the book was trying to represent homosexuality, for example, and still managed to cotton-wrap the issue – I don’t think many people were yet as understanding in 1910s as the author makes it out to be. The book plot also missed the edginess for me with the issues it covers. It is written with YA in mind and yet I was taken aback that Nicholls describes sexual relationship of two fifteen year old girls. As an adult reading the book, it did make me feel somewhat voyeurish. There was no need for that at all in the story line. Overall, the book offers a wide range, perhaps somewhat lighthearted, introduction to subjects of the fight for women’s suffrage, the Great War and homosexuality.  Not bad, give it a go.

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text 2018-02-06 22:49
Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 328 pages.
No Surrender - Constance Maud

Oh, goody, only 300 more pages of Maud's polemics. 

 

Don't get me wrong, this is an important book, but the delivery of Maud's argument is as elegant as cracking an egg with an ice axe.

 

At least the beauty of my Persephone copy of this book makes up for some of the lack of quality in the writing. 

 

 

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text 2017-12-30 15:13
2018 - Women's Suffrage Reading Project
The Suffragettes – Complete History Of the Movement (6 Volumes in One Edition): The Battle for the Equal Rights: 1848-1922 (Including Letters, Newspaper ... Speeches, Court Transcripts & Decisions) - Elizabeth Cady Stanton,Susan B. Anthony,Matilda Gage,Harriot Stanton Blatch,Ida H. Harper
Women's Suffrage: A Short History of a Great Movement - Millicent Garrett Fawcett
Louise Otto: Frauenbewegung in Deutschland: Die Führerinnen der Frauenbewegung in Deutschland + Die erste deutsche Frauen-Conferenz in Leipzig: Erinnerungen ... auf Gegenwart und Zukunft (German Edition) - Louise Otto
The Scottish Suffragettes and the Press (Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media) - Sarah Pedersen

 

 

Update - 30. Dec. 2017:

 

Markk is planning to join but with some deviations/additions to the list of books - deviations/addition that look great:

 

-  Eleanor Flexner: Century of Struggle - The Women's Rights Movement in the United States

- Ellen Carol DuBois: Feminism and Suffrage

-  Jad Adams: Women and the Vote: A World History.

 

I've created a Reading List for details of all the books I am considering* for this project, and I will update this post throughout the year with links to articles and books read for the project.

 

* Obviously, there are LOTS of books on the subject but my selection is limited to the books I am looking to read or consider for the project. 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Project Overview:

 

2018 will mark the centenary of women gaining the right to vote in Germany and Britain. I have long been fascinated by the history of women's suffrage and thought it would be a great way to celebrate the anniversary by looking at the lead up, the campaigns, the people involved in the movement.

 

Of course, this is a topic that could easily consume a whole year of reading by itself - and quite rightly so - but chances are that I will want to read other books, too. So, I will try and direct my reading towards 4 main texts - each profiling the struggle for women's right to vote in Germany, Britain, the US, and one specifically on Scotland - because the movement here (Scotland) actually differed slightly to the more famous one in England (and because it was written by my old university prof.)

 

As one book always (always!!) leads to another, I expect that there will be a few other books (that I already own, thus chipping away at Mt. TBR) and links that will make an appearance during this reading project (which I will list below as I go along).

 

 

 

Illustration for Puck magazine by Harry Grant Dart (1908) - found here, which is also an excellent article (in The Appendix) about the illustration itself. 

 

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review 2017-08-30 10:28
Heroines that must honoured
Women in the Great War - Tanya Wynn,Stephen Wynn

Thanks to Pen & Sword for sending me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I’m not sure why but as I read this book I realised I had read much more about World War II than about the Great War, and having a degree in American Studies, I had read a fair bit about American women’s war efforts (during WWII) but knew very little about what women had done during WWI, other than through some war novels where they would appear as nurses, but little else. That was one of the reasons why I was interested in this book from the Pen & Sword’s catalogue. At a time when women didn’t have the vote but were fighting for it, the war and the changes it brought had an enormous impact on the lives of British women (and women in general).

The book is divided into a number of chapters that after setting up the scene (Chapter 1. Women in General), discuss the different organisations and roles women took up during the war. We have chapters dedicated to women who became munition workers (yes, it was not only Rosie the Riveter who took up that task, and it’s amazing to think that women whose roles were so restricted at the time took to heavy factory work with such enthusiasm, despite the risks involved, although there was fun to be had too, like the women’s football teams organised at some of the factories), the Voluntary Air Detachments (Agatha Christie was employed by the VAD as a nurse and dispenser, and it seems her knowledge of medications and substances was to prove very handy in her writing career), The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, to reflect Queen Mary’s patronage), Women’s Legion and Other Women’s Organisations (including some like the Women’s Land Army, Women Police Volunteer, The Women’s Forage Corps [that required a great deal of physical strength]).

The chapter entitled Individual Women of the Great War includes fascinating stories, most of them worthy of a whole book, like those of Dorothy Lawrence, who dressed as a man and became a soldier although never actually fought, several spies, among them one of the best known and remembered Edith Louisa Cavell, a nurse, and perhaps my favourite, Flora Sanders, who was born in Yorkshire and actually fought in the war and became a Captain in the Serbian Army (and yes, in this case they knew she was a woman but did not seem to mind very much). Another favourite of mine has to be Violet Constance Jessop ‘the unsinkable’ who worked as a stewardess in a number of liners and survived the thinking of three big ships, including the Titanic’s. That never put her off and she worked at sea her whole career and died of old age.

There is a chapter dedicated to those who lost their lives during the war (and were not included in one of the previous chapters). The authors have checked a number of archives and list as many details as are available for these 241 women. For some, there’s only a name, date, and age (and where they were serving), for others there is more information. Reading through the list, that I am sure will be of great help to researchers looking for information on the subject, I was surprised by how many nurses died of what now would be considered pretty trivial illnesses (influenza, many of pneumonia, some of the nurses in far away locations died of dysentery, some of undiagnosed illnesses, or appendicitis) making evident not only how much medical science has advanced but also the precarious and exhausting conditions under which they worked, putting their duty before their own health. Quite a number went down with ships that had either been bombed or had hit mines, and some were unfortunate enough to be killed during raids when they were back home on a permit. In some cases, families lost several members to the war and one can only imagine the effects that must have had on their surviving relatives.

The last chapter mentions Queen Mary and Princess Mary’s war efforts, which had a great impact on monetary donations and on enlistment of both men and women. The conclusion reminds us that women had a great role to play during the Great War, both at home and indeed close to the action.

The book is well researched and combines specific data with personal stories, making it of interest to both researchers and readers who want to know more about that historical period, in particular about women’s history. Some chapters, like the one dedicated to individual women, are a good starting point to encourage further reading and engage the curiosity of those not so familiar with the topic.

A fitting homage to those women, who, as the authors write in the conclusion, should also be honoured on Remembrance Day.

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review 2016-10-12 19:08
Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons
Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons (Kindle Serial) - Tony Wolf,Joao Vieira

as I got further into Suffrajitsu, I fell further in love. Not only does it have some BA women doing BA things, but I love the dialogue. Now, I will take this time to remind potential readers that this is an alternate history and events did not go down like this. However, this graphic novel is less about the suffragette movement than it is about the actions of these specific suffragists. It's the kind of graphic novel that you have to know a little about the subject matter to really enjoy but the little that is required is totally covered by the Suffragette movie that came out last year, which can be streamed on Amazon Video here. I might be a fan of this movie. It just does a great job of not romanticizing one side or the other. It shows the hardships the women went through without over glorifying it and lets the viewer make their own decisions about their actions. There are also plenty of books that cover this part of history.

Getting back to Suffrajitsu, I enjoyed it, particularly after realizing what it was. This is not a graphic novel overview of the historical events. It's just a set of comics that use some of these women as characters. It's a fun read but not the kind that a reader should take their history from. Definitely fiction. Definitely interesting. Definitely fun. I loved the main characters. I've known quite a few women like this. They could be sitting in a bar talking about anything and I would love to read about it.

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