Genre: Nonfiction, history
Secondary Genre: biography, feminism/women’s history
CW: Abuse (prison)
This dual biography of Alice Paul and Woodrow Wilson had me hooked from the first. I was so into it, in fact, that I completely forgot to take notes.
The author frames the two of them as being on an unavoidable collision course throughout their lives, propelled by ambition and their distinctly different views of life and people.
While Alice Paul is a flawed human being (I disagree with her choice not to support more intersectional feminism; she refused to support black women because she thought it would take away from her goals of equality for all women), she is still one of my favorite historical figures. I admire he drive and dedication, and I really wish I could hang out with Lucy Burns because she seems like a hoot. But this book also solidified my dislike of President Wilson (actually, combined with another book I’m reading right now he’s now ranked number 2 on my “Worst American Presidents of All Time” list. I’m sure you can guess who is number one). For example, before reading it I didn’t know he was the reason we had Jim Crow. What a great legacy, she said sarcastically.
It traces both of them from young adulthood through the passage of the 19th amendment. The key point in Wilson’s opposition was that he didn’t believe women were capable of rational thought, despite repeated proof to the contrary. Good thing he was wrong, since he wife wound up running the country after his stroke.
This book covered so much more of the fight for women’s suffrage than I thought it would, and it was an excellent read from beginning to end. My one suggestion is not to get the audiobook; I found the narrator extremely annoying and listed to it even faster than usual just so I wouldn’t have to listen to her. Pick it up in ebook or paperback instead.