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To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America - A History
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To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America - A History

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This landmark work of lesbian history focuses on how certain late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century women whose lives can be described as lesbian were in the forefront of the battle to secure the rights and privileges that large numbers of Americans enjoy today. Lillian Faderman persuasively argues that their lesbianism may in fact have facilitated their accomplishm ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 8th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1999)
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Philly Aesthete Brown
I borrowed this hefty tome from the library when it was originally published in 1999, and recently bought myself a copy now that it's out in paperback. The awkwardly wordy title may give the impression that this book is one of those rather shallow surveys that tries to cram decades upon decades of historical information into a slight volume. It is not. Nor is it one of those corny 'great and little known facts & contributions books'. What it is is a scholarly and exhaustively researched (mos ...more
Graciela
This book contains a lot of good "unknown" information regarding same sex relationships which most suffragists involved themselves in. There's a lot of excerpts from original letters written by Susan B Anthony among others - directed to their loved one. After taking a class about Women's history in America - I realized that women in the 18o0's were encouraged to participate in same sex romantic relationships. This of course was a result of the division of spheres 1. men 2. women. The women spher ...more
Morgan Dhu
Liliian Faderman's book, To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America - A History, examines the contribution of American women we would now identify as lesbians to various areas of endeavour, including the women's suffrage movement, the settlement house movement, the establishment of higher education institutions for women, and the entry of women into the professions.

It is difficult to look back into the past and determine with absolute certainty the sexual lives of many of the women
...more
Amanda
I am so glad I found this book! It was as amazing and eye-opening as others have said. Faderman finally presents us with a full history of some of the most admired American women. I devoured this - it's scholarly but compulsively readable. Footnotes aren't digitized well, at least not in iBooks - it's hard to find what you want when you are reading.

One gripe: Faderman has something against stay-at-home moms. That's fine when she's railing against the housewife mystique of the 50s, but she is in
...more
Linda
Lillian Faderman appears to be specializing in books with long titles. This one continues that trend with "To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America - A History". This covers a period of time from the middle of the 19th through the middle of the 20th century and looks at the women who were the driving forces in women's suffrage, education and in professional and academic work.

Sadly, it contains a lot of names that we've never heard in a history class. The only two likely exception
...more
Holly
Great book! Hard to put down if you enjoy stories of smart women going against the grain. Provides an ancestry to lesbian and bisexual women and an eye-opening historical account to anyone who grew up learning the straight-washed version of American women's history. Highly recommend!
ael
i know this is stupid, but i mostly enjoyed this book for celebrity-spotting (so is it just accepted knowledge nnow that Eleanor Roosevelt was a dyke?)and sentimental claspings of hands beneath moonlight caresses. I'm a sucker for womyn-loving-womyn Anne of Green Gables styleee.
Kellee
Amazing read. So many women we hear about as heroes all the time (such as Susan B. Anthony!), with lesbian inclinations, and we never hear about them. I never get to hear their history which is so affirming for me. This book is incredibly important.
Tina
This is one of my favorite books. When I was growing up, you never heard of the women in this book. Yet they played prominent and integral roles in our history.
Thorn MotherIssues
So many fascinating little tidbits (Didja know Spelman was founded by a white lesbian couple? Huh???) and a fascinating overarching narrative. I really enjoyed it.
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A. Thurman
Jan 22, 2010 A. Thurman marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Lillian Faderman is a scholar whose books on lesbian relationships and romantic friendship in history have earned critical praise and awards.

Faderman studied first at the University of California, Berkeley and later at UCLA. She was a professor of English at California State University, Fresno and a visiting professor at UCLA. She retired in 2007.
More about Lillian Faderman...
Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present Naked in the Promised Land: A Memoir Chloe Plus Olivia: An Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the 17th Century to the Present Gay L. A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians

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