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When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,794 Ratings  ·  699 Reviews
Gail Collins, New York Times columnist and bestselling author, recounts the astounding revolution in women's lives over the past 50 years, with her usual "sly wit and unfussy style" (People).

When Everything Changed begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands' permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton's historic presi
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 21st 2010 by Back Bay Books (first published October 14th 2009)
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Julie Ekkers
Aug 19, 2011 Julie Ekkers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I like Gail Collins' columns so I picked this up, but did not expect to learn much that was new only because I've read a lot of post-WWII history and women's history. But I learned a lot! Collins weaves interviews she did with regular folks who lived through these times with reporting on the events of those years. I thought this approach gave the reader the best of both worlds--the broader picture, and the individual people moving through it. The sections on the 1960s and 70s were especially wel ...more
Elizabeth Hall
Feb 07, 2013 Elizabeth Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy smokin moley. Please, please, pretty please with freedom on top, read When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins. Read it and remember your foremothers—your great-grandmother, your grandmother, your mother. Read it and weep. Read it and sing. And then tell your friends to read it. This book will make you want to finish history, because it will tell you what history is—and remind you, in the skin of your own life, why history need ...more
I've always thought of myself as "moderate" on most political issues, but recent conversations with co-workers have helped me realize my views fall squarely in the "liberal" category. So, when The New York Times gave a rave review to this book, I decided it was time to educate myself about some true liberals (or "libbers", as the case may be) and added it to my library hold list.

My first impression was the one I get from so many columnists-turned-book-writers: It reads like a huge collection of
Alan Cook
Aug 09, 2015 Alan Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this book four stars instead of five because I thought the author was cherry-picking her examples, but the more I got into the book the more I saw that she was doing in-depth research and trying to remain objective, which is difficult to do with a subject like this. My wife and I both lived and worked through the time period covered in the book, and of course we each have our own take on what happened, but the book brought back many memories.

I read the book because I am curre
Nov 16, 2015 Darcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be just a delight to read. All kinds of "I didn't know that!" and "Oooh, insightful!" and "[chuckle] Oh Gail, how droll!" moments. Lots I didn't know about famous women in a variety of fields, and great story after great story about non-famous women as well.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"When Everything Changed" is a history of American women from 1960 the present and everything that they had to go through in order to get where we are today. It was a time of rapid change. You had women entering the workforce in higher levels than ever before. Their roles and the way that they saw themselves, and the ways that they wanted others to see them were changing as well. When you look at history, there is so much change that occurred for women in the 1960s. The 1960s were really the beg ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a personable, insightful look at "the women's movement". Really she covers more than from 1960, in order to compare the later half of the century to the times before it. Collins does a nice job of putting efforts for gender equality into historical context; in particular, I enjoyed her writing on how it interacted with the civil rights movement. While not perfectly universal in her approach, Collins also does a decent job of bringing in the experience of not only middle- or upper-class E ...more
Diana Band
Mar 19, 2015 Diana Band rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
I consider myself a pretty voracious reader, and I've read a lot of great books -- fiction and nonfiction -- over the years. But, it is rare that I read a book that is so life-changing...I'm looking at the world differently after this read, and am encouraging everyone I know to read it. A quoted review inside calls "When Everything Changed" "compulsively readable" -- and it is. I was shocked to find myself unable to put this book down, dying to know "what happened next" even as I got into the de ...more
Dana Stabenow
Sep 18, 2012 Dana Stabenow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was too young and also incredibly lucky to have been raised by a mother who never said "You can't do that, honey, you're a girl" to be paying enough attention to the women's rights movement. So it's lucky Collins wrote this definitive history, so I can read about Lois Rabinowitz getting thrown out of a NYC court in 1960 because she's wearing slacks, and about Tahita Jenkins, fired from her job as a New York City bus driver in 2007 because she wouldn't wear pants.

The greatest irony of the celeb
Dec 08, 2010 Jrumrill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a pretty balanced portrayal of the journey of the women's movement and what became of it. I was very hopeful when I started the book that it would not be an "Amazing Journey of [white, middle-class, college- educated feminine mystique] American Women, and I was not disappointed. Collins wove together the expreiences of women from all social classes, racial backgrounds, levels of education, wealth, etc.
I was most excited to read the section about my generation of women, but th
I’d bought this book when it first came out, being a big fan of Collins’ New York Times columns, but I’d put off reading it after reading Collins’ subsequent open letter to young American women, which basically laid the decline of popular feminism at the feet of young women. I argued it was insulting to young feminists and showed a complete lack of accountability for any problems in the second wave feminist movement.

Eventually I came back to the book, having just read Rebecca Traister’s Big Girl
Grady McCallie
May 31, 2012 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Born in 1969, I found this history of women in American society, from 1960 to the present, especially illuminating for the years before 1990. It's certainly not academic. Gail Collins' writing is lively but in this book, in contrast to her newspaper columns, only rarely facetious. Using anecdotes more than statistics, Collins paints a compelling picture of the conventions and social expectations that shaped women's lives before and during the 1960s and 1970s, and of the struggles for women's rig ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Everything Changed is a fascinating book about how the lives of women have changed so much since 1960. Gail Collins proves this by giving what might be hundreds of anecdotes. Collins is a newspaper reporter, so this book is like a collection of news stories. It profiles dozens of women that we now see as trailblazers - both famous and not. Like Lorena Weeks, who was a clerk for Southern Bell who applied for a man's job, and had to go to court to get it. I was particularly impressed with all ...more
Bonny Robinson Cook
I like this book because it covers the time period of my working career and talks about many of the issues of the "women's movement" that affected me. Women were discriminated against in a multitude of areas, one of them being the workplace. Younger women should read this book for an understanding of changing relationships between the sexes (and to give proper thanks to those who paved the way for them and made it easier for them to rise in the business world as well as government). Gail Collins ...more
Robyn Grad
Mar 23, 2015 Robyn Grad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to pick this up to read--it was a gift. So glad I did. The style of quoting people without delving too much into their stories bothered me (Barbara Winslow--guess I'll have to look up your research!) but the whole era (ERA) in context is extremely well done. I highly recommend it.
Gail Goetschius
Feb 10, 2014 Gail Goetschius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book filled with information that everyone should know. Although I was only nine in 1960 and unaware of the movement for the first few years I have followed it avidly for most of my life. However, there was plenty I did not know.

For one thing I did not know, or conveniently forgot how abrasive some factions of the early movement were. They seemed to want to do away with family and men in general. Perhaps this is why some women my age refuse to identify as feminists. I see it
Jan 09, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that I helped research in 2005/2006, and interviewed a whole bunch of women for. It comes out this October - I can't wait to read it!
Mar 12, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through this captivating chronicle by Gail Collins I traced the steps of women who paved the way for the current generation of young women both in their job opportunities and their lifestyles. I was especially moved by the role of black women in the civil rights movement since most of the press went to males while the females did a lot of the heavy lifting. I really don't think that young women understand that in the early sixties a college degree gained access to secretarial pools, teaching, so ...more
Feb 15, 2015 TeriC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was amazed to realize I lived through the beginning and didn't even realize it.
Apr 09, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I was given this book by a friend a few years ago and have been meaning to read it for quite awhile. I figured finally reading it during Women's History Month would be appropriate. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It covers the history of the women's movement from the 1960s to the present. The late 50s and the 60s take up nearly half the book. There is a lot to cover. It is just appalling what women dealt with on a daily basis. Given that I was born in the 50s, I was oblivious to all th ...more
Pat Coffey
Jul 21, 2015 Pat Coffey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: memoir, history
WOW! I read this book slowly on purpose. It is not only the history of women from the late 1950 to the present. It is the story of this country's struggle with equality for all. It takes you from the "plastic consumer complacency" through the civil rights movement, Viet Nam, Women's Equality, the Sexual Revoluation, and much, much more. If you lived during any of these decades you should read this book. If you are a young man or woman whose parents went through these periods of history, read the ...more
Doug Mcnair
A good short history of the modern women's movement, one that left me wanting more. The section on the movement's connections to and tensions with the civil rights movement was excellent, and the section on why the ERA failed was also very informative. For example, I didn't know that women's potentially being drafted into the Army if the ERA passed was a big strike against it in many people's eyes — though I can see why they felt that way since the Vietnam War had recently ended and it was bad e ...more
It has taken me awhile to finish this book, but that was only because other reading had to come first. When I had time, I was immersed in the story that Collins tells in this book. I think Collins has done an excellent job of recording American women’s history. Since the period she covers (1960-2008) is the better part of my life, I had experienced much of what she records here. However, I had not looked back at women’s journey in any organized way.

I am grateful to Collins for all the work she p
Nov 29, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
While it's not as punchy as her newspaper columns, Gail Collins's book When Everything Changed is a fantastically lively and readable account of the women's movement from the 1960's to today. The success of the movement makes it possible for people my age to take its achievements literally for granted; reading this history not only makes you appreciate the conviction and initiative of these women, but makes it seem possible to do much more.

The story is told through anecdotes from women of differ
Received as a gift, e-book edition; read it on the Kindle app on my new iPad mini.

I read this to brush up a little on feminism and women's rights. I still feel unversed in the topic, but at the same time I can thoroughly recommend this book as providing a valuable perspective. It's essentially women telling their own stories about their roles in the culture wars of the late 20th century, knit into a broader narrative by the author. I found myself clipping on halfway through the thing and suddenl
A stunning look at an era that I was too young to understand and now old enough to say, why wasn't this information taught in school? A book that should be taught in every high school in the United States. The wealth of information in this title is outstanding. Gail did her research and more beyond that... She interview multiple women throughout the country to give us a broad view of the problems many were facing. So much history, so many women to salute for all their hard work they achieved in ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Joleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During the 1960's, I was in high and then college. I got married in 1970, had a baby in 1971, and was divorced in 1972. Quick work, you might say! Much of what Gail Collins writes in this book I had either forgotten or wasn't paying attention. Probably the latter, because I was too busy living my life. I did become involved in the Women's Movement when my daughter was about twelve and I began to worry that much of what I had begun to take for granted would not be there for her. Now I have a gran ...more
Sep 12, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot from this book, and unlike other books about women that I've started--but not yet finished--(Feminine Mystique, Second Sex) this one really grabbed me. It's a brisk read, funny in parts, and it deftly provides an overview of the seismic cultural shifts in American culture over the past fifty years.

In 1960, women had a small number of choices in life: get married and raise children, stay single and become a social outcast (this view hasn't been stamped out entirely), or work as a
Dec 10, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Grrr...interesting. The first part of this book was slightly infuriating -- not to mention I was totally PMS'ing when I read it. (The author would probably not appreciate this note, but it's true!) Collins tries to tell the story of women's oppression in the U.S., and how suffragists and feminists rose up to fight back. She writes in sweeping generalities, without any thought or comment as to how women's roles may have evolved naturally (last time I checked, only women were "allowed" to give bir ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saw this book on a Women's History Month display as I was walking through the library and thought - Aha! This book is about me. And it was. I had forgotten, or maybe hadn't paid attention at the time,to some of the things in the 60s that drove the women's movement. Now I remember that I couldn't go to graduate school and get in-state tuition unless my husband signed that I really lived in Texas, couldn't have a credit card in my own name, couldn't buy property on my own. And the things we wore! ...more
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Gail Collins was the Editorial Page Editor of The New York Times from 2001 to January 1, 2007. She was the first woman Editorial Page Editor at the Times.

Born as Gail Gleason, Collins has a degree in journalism from Marquette University and an M.A. in government from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Beyond her work as a journalist, Collins has published several books; Scorpion Tongues: Gos
More about Gail Collins...

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“[Ella Baker]'s second defining characteristic was her dislike of top-down leadership... 'She felt leaders were not appointed but the rose up. Someone will rise. Someone will emerge'. It was an attitude Baker shared with some of the older women in the movement.” 2 likes
“How did I make a living? I haven't. I have eked out an existence." - Ella Baker” 1 likes
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