A Short History of Women
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I cannot in good conscience give 3 stars to a book that I can barely remember after 3 weeks.
Walbert's book tells the story of 4 generations of women from the same family, the progenitor of which is a woman who starved herself to death f...more
I enjoyed the book -- after I got past the first 33 pages. The writing style was annoying at first. It seemed cryptic and confusing. When the book got to the first chapter of Dorothy Townsend Barrett, the writing changed and it was a much more pleasant read. I did have to keep going back to the lineage chart to remember who was who - too...more
A Short History of Women chronicles the struggles of the...more
A wonderful book spanning at least four generations of a family of women. Publisher’s note says it better than I can:
The novel opens in England in 1915, at the deathbed of Dorothy Townsend, a suffragist and one of the first women to integrate Cambridge University. Her
decision to starve herself for the cause info...more
After being catatonically underwhelmed by "Let the Great World Spin", I have been deeply moved and deeply impressed by "A Short History of Women", . I have read Kate Walbert's two previous books, and this one, I believe, catapults her into the universe of excellence. I can understand why it was one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 as selected by the NYT.
Interleaving the lives of five generations of an English/American family, Walbert uses the fight...more
Walbert's narrators include and descend from an early 20th century suffragette, who starves herself to death to call attention to "The Woman Question," and, seemingly, to justify her life. She leaves behind two children. He...more
Walbert's writing is beautiful, no doubt about it. I also think the greatest strength of this nove...more
I love stories about families, and author Kate Walbert had a great concept. It follows t...more
Motivated to read A Short History of Women by a glowing review in the New York Times, I wanted to love it. What a treasure it would be to have a book that provided through brilliant character portrayal a bridge from Virginia Woolf's London to the subsequent waves of feminist thought and experience in the U.S.A.
Reading, I felt unsatisfied, and by the end I wondered at the reviewer's taste. The book's clever structure dominates rather than supports the story. The writer's presence thus becomes unw...more
I'm really disappointed in this, because I liked the idea of a novel that tells the stories of several generations of women...more
We meet Dorothy on her deathbed, a suffragette on a hunger strike in 1914 England. Her daughter, Evelyn later moves to the U.S., never marries and becomes a successful scientist. Granddaughter Dorothy, marries, has children, then in middle-age becomes a blogging anti-war protester. Caroline and Liz are the baby-boomer great-granddaughters. Dorothy or "Dora" is Ca...more
These are nice hazy British memories of suffrage, gilded white starving lilies. Walbert has Pat Barker's sense of history, particularly minor, peripheral figures having social significance. These legacies are powe3rful and evident: perceptiveness, light seriousness, disregard for wealth, but not necessarily independence, not streng...more
The premise is simple - this is the story of five generations of women struggling to find out who they are and what their places are in the world. The story begins with the oldest, Dorothy Trevor Townsend, who starves herself to death for women's suffrage in 1914, leaving be...more
Walbert’s novel moves fluidly from the time of Florence Nightingale, who screamed into the void to be heard, to the age of the...more
Listen to this: “Brigid told me the colors of my toe—the greens and blues of it—reminded her of Scotland and she took this to mean we woul...more
"A Short History of..." is a trend in titles over the last few years, perhaps borrowing from the popularity of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, a book that pays back its promise of a layman's ruminations of pop science unconcerned with order or specialization, just a little (not to say "short," that's Bryson's misnomer) book of raw wonder. But there is no wonder here.
Conversely, it is short,...more
This is 5 generations of women's lives all star...more
The book's structure is a triumph. Walbert jumps through the decades, from character to character and then back to character, gradually showing the influence that each gener...more