Divided Lives: American Women in the Twentieth Century

Terrific book to read alongside Virgina Woolf’s Three Guineas (review to come), covering the epic and ongoing battle for women’s rights. It manages to reveal, reflect, instruct, and not leave you reaching for a razor to slit your wrists over the current state of the patriarchy. I’m left with a long list of follow-up reading, everything from Zora Neale Hurston to Susan Faludi and Betty Friedan to Kate Millet. Best outcome of the book is insight into the many forgotten and usually unnamed heroes that went before us: Molly W. Dewson’s influence over FDR’s political appointments; Robin Morgan’s coordination of the protests in Atlantic City over Miss America Pageant (source of the image of bra-burning, although they weren’t allowed to light their Freedom Trash Can on fire due to safety concerns the boardwalk had); Pauli Murray’s brief that played an important role in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka Kansas (1954); Paula Coughlin’s reporting of assault at the Tailhook convention in 1991; and many more. Originally published in 1992, Rosenberg was able to add a meaty chapter at the end that covered Anita Hill’s legendary impact on awareness of sexual harassment, the impact of Title IX (Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain), and the disintegration of protection around access to abortion.