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In this enthralling narrative-the first of its kind-historian and journalist Ruth Rosen chronicles the history of the American women's movement from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. Interweaving the personal with the political, she vividly evokes the events and people who participated in our era's most far-reaching social revolution. Rosen's fresh look at the recent past reveals fascinating but little-known information including how the FBI hired hundreds of women to infiltrate the movement. Using extensive archival research and interviews, Rosen challenges readers to understand the impact of the women's movement and to see why the revolution is far from over.
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For anyone who wants a thorough introduction to the modern American women's movement, this is it: a rousing story of the revolution by a history professor who participated in its struggles. Ruth Rosen introduces her book by reminding readers of discriminatory practices that were common in pre-1960s America: "Harvard's Lamont Library was off-limits to women for fear they would distract male students. Newspaper ads separated jobs by sex; bars often refused to serve women; some states even excluded women from jury duty; no women ran big corporations or universities, worked as firefighters or police officers." She then proceeds to delineate the changes that make such discrimination seem unthinkable today. Her research takes in popular books, magazines, newspaper articles and television, the details of politics and law, and the individual liberation stories of not only famous feminists and thinkers but many lesser-known women as well.
By the end of the 1970s, there are not only legal abortions, Title IX, and more women than men at American universities but letters like the following submitted to Ms. magazine: "One day last week, I pulled up to a four-way stop in my taxi," writes Jill Wood. "At one of the stop signs sat a police officer in a cruiser, and at the third, a telephone installer in a van. What made the occasion memorable was the fact that all three of us were women. We celebrated with much joyful laughter." Yet, says Rosen, this is only the beginning of the struggle for human rights. The World Split Open should serve to galvanize the energies of a new generation of women and men. --Maria DolanAbout the Author:
Ruth Rosen, a professor emerita at the University of California, Davis, teaches history and public policy at U.C. Berkeley. She is the editor of The Maimie Papers and author of Prostitution in America. She is a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and editorial writer and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. A cofounder and senior fellow of the Longview Institute, she writes for a wide variety of magazines and journals, including TomDispatch.com, The History News Network, TomPaine.com, The American Prospect, Dissent, The Nation, AlterNet.org, and is a regular contributor to the online political Web site Talking Points Memo Café.
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