The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss

womans hour

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: The long, long road to the enfranchisement of women in the United States.

What made me pick it up: Voting is so important to me. My great-grandmother, who I knew for many years, was born a decade before women could legally vote. I have always recognized the great responsibility voting is, and the work that went into giving us that right. But I had no idea just how long and hard and how many heroes worked to make it possible.

My favorite parts: This is written like a novel where you follow a series of main characters from the old guard of Susan B. Anthony to the next gen suffragists like Carrie Catt. You also meet a series of anti-suffragists and will likely recognize some of their rhetoric from current political arguments. The story builds up to the last state to ratify (Tennessee) and even though you know eventually that it will get passed, it is still such a dramatic story and close call. In the end you will be so grateful for your opportunity to participate fully in our democracy and want to hug that one politician’s mother who sent a last minute letter imploring him to give women the vote. May we all be so vocal about our need for equality, and hopefully may many more lawmakers listen and act.

Who it’s great for: Everyone.

Erica’s rating: four and a half shells

White Working Class by Joan C. Williams

wwc
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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: A very astute explanation of the reasons for the class divide among white voters in America and how it can be bridged.

What made me pick it up: I had read White Trash and was intrigued by this one which seemed to be similar in theme, if not scope.

My favorite things: I appreciated Williams even-handed explanation of this divide and very easy to understand explanations of how and why the White Working Class votes. As someone who grew up smack in the middle of a WWC area I saw firsthand a lot of these beliefs and behaviors demonstrated both pre- and post-election in 2016. For those without a thorough upbringing or understanding of these folks this is a great read. More than anything I identify strongly with her plea that we pursue social and economic opportunity for all — which will work to alleviate issues besides class problems, like sexism and racism (to a point).

Who it’s great for: Readers looking to understand working class Americans and why their actions don’t always mesh with their interests. Anyone who needs a reminder that we’re all in this together, or at least we should be. You. READ IT.

Erica’s rating: five-shells


Find this in your local library or on Amazon.