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No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women
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No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  360 ratings  ·  32 reviews
“On the situations of women around the world today, this one book provides more illumination and insight than a dozen others combined. . . . Freedman’s survey is a triumph of global scope and informed precision.”
–NANCY F. COTT
Professor of History, Harvard University

Repeatedly declared dead by the media, the women’s movement has never been as vibrant as it is today. Indeed
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published February 26th 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Marshall
This book is a "feminism 101," an introduction and overview of feminist theory and history. It does a good job at that. It beautifully captures the ideology, misandry, history revision, emotional reasoning, ambiguity of terminology, fallacies, urban myths, and emphasis on anecdotes over facts so common in feminism. This book seriously pissed me off, so this is going to be a very long review.

I didn't disagree with everything in this book. There are some serious errors here, which I'll discuss in
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Jackie
A very readable, comprehensive history of feminism. Includes a huge variety of topics, including but not limited to - the early history of feminism as a movement; abortion, birth control, and sexuality; involvement of women in politics; women in the workforce; the wage gap; how race, class, and sexuality politics intersect with and create different sets of oppressions for women; and gendered violence, one of my own pet issues as I am a survivor of sexual assault. Of course, Freedman's book is on ...more
Alex Kartelias
Couldn't have picked a better book to learn about feminism:covers a wide range of topics, brings up criticism and statistics, while bringing up a history that is too little known by most people. Even though I've supported equality for women for awhile, I never knew the extent to which women have been and still are suppressed. This book disproves all the assumptions men AND women make about feminism and shows how it's far from being a simple, black and white topic: it involves politics, economics ...more
Matthieutc
This is a great book to get an overall sense of the feminist movement. It reads like a history book of the 20th century. The style is easy and loaded with examples and quotes. It's a good book to read if you want to put numbers and examples on vague ideas. I will probably use some of the examples in the book in future personal conversations.


It covers the suffragist movement and the change that lead to the 'second-wave':

After 1930, both interracial and interfaith cooperation found a foothold with
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Sarah
This is a thorough presentation of the history and development of feminism around the world. The aspect I most appreciated about the book is Freedman's nuanced cultural analyses. She does an excellent job of setting context, discussing the variety of "feminisms" and feminist movements that exist through-out the world, and pointing out the ways in which race, class, and nationality affect women's experiences and perspectives. In fact, from reading this book I gained a new understanding of the way ...more
Reuel
Global history of multiple aspects of feminism over the centuries. Impressive coverage in a single volume.

(2002 hardcover edn., Ballantine Bks, New York)
Stephanie
Freedman tries to show how the feminist movement began much earlier than many have seen and that it's not over. She tries to present the "holes" that she sees in the arguments of many over the years. She has her own definition of feminism, so she presents the pieces of "truth" she feels Stanton, Anthony, Mill, etc. were lacking. She measures examples throughout history and into our modern age against her own point of view. I guess the greatest value I've seen in this book is that her writing cha ...more
Anna
This is a decent history of global feminism, although it focuses mostly on the second wave in the U.S. There is also very little coverage of the contributions that working-class women, women with disabilities, and trans women have made to the feminist movement, which is REALLY disappointing. This book may be a good introduction if the reader is new to feminism, but those who know the history of mainstream feminist politics already will probably desire something a bit more nuanced and that does n ...more
Sarah
Great book for people looking for an overview of the history of feminism and the general theories and practices. It's very concise and a quick read. It's not complicated or difficult to comprehend as many theoretical texts tend to be on the subject. I suggest this to women (AND men) of all walks of life.

Interestingly I read it the summer after it first came out only to have it assigned in class the next semester in college (woohoo one less book to read that semester!!).
Melissa
A good Women's Studies primer.

Maybe it's my age, maybe it's my apathy, but at some point I had to stop reading about the domestic workload discrepancy.

The inequitable distribution of domestic/parenting responsibilities and labor is absolutely true. Even for those of us who married well. And the dynamic is changing, slowly. Reading about it, though gives rise to a resentment that I don't feel comfortable living with.
Kathy
Freedman does a good job of spanning the history of feminism, and touching on the various global, racial, economic, sexual, and other factors that have shaped the feminist movement throughout time and around the world. Of course with a book that aims to cover the history of feminism, no one topic is delved into fully or covered in great depth. Overall, though, a skilled overview.
Jenny
Considering I don't have much of a background in the history of feminism, I thought this was an excellent overview on the subject. There was an appropriate level of depth about the broad spectrum and forms of feminism across the globe, but also focused primarily on the US. The writing style was clear and easy to read and the organization was really well done.
Andrea
A pretty wide-ranging look at the history of feminism. Very readable and broad-reaching. I especially appreciated the early chapters about women's roles before feminism and the discussion of capitalism and women. Great food for thought, and a really nice walk through the last 200 years of feminist ideas.
Jessica Pack
Read this as part of a graduate feminism course. It is a perfect review of the history of the feminist movement. A must read for anyone who wants to know what women have gone through..... I suggest that everyone read it! Freedman makes it easy to breeze through even though it is a lot of history!
Kate
What a great introduction to feminism! I love how this book includes global perspectives and doesn't just focus on white cis-het women's experiences. As someone who counts herself as a budding feminist, this book has really helped me flesh out some of my own opinions and ideas.
Maria
Feb 10, 2011 Maria added it
Good survey of women's history. Woudl recommend to anyone looking for a survey history book but not someone looking for in-depth analysis or research on one history time or topic or theme.
Claire
Sep 22, 2007 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feministas looking for rejeuvination of passion
I didn't read this book in entirity, but I really enjoyed the parts that I read, and it definitely shaped my paper that I wrote on feminism.
Courtney
Read sections of the book for a history class. Wasn't written in an interesting enough voice to be good, but the facts were fascinating.
Sarah
An impressively inclusive, and far-reaching overview of the history of the feminist movement. Very readable.
Sally
This is a good primer in feminist history. It condenses A LOT of information and makes it easy to understand.
Joana
It's a great book. If you have the chance, please do read it, no matter what your gender is.
Jessica Injejikian
First comprehensive book on feminism, including feminist theory and global history.
shay
i found this book to be incredibly repetitive and rather shallow. disappointing.
Kendra
History of feminism in a nutshell. A good basic for me, but not a book for everyone.
Laura
This is a highly readable romp throught the annals of feminist history.
Itzel Padron
Jun 28, 2013 Itzel Padron added it
Shelves: feminist
interesting perspective although a dry read at times
Patti
Good introduction to basic feminist history.
Isis
Used in class as a guide throughout the semester
Issej
Really dry but I loved the content overall.
Sarah
Jun 23, 2008 Sarah marked it as to-read
feminist studies recommended reading
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