Alessandra's Reviews > The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America

The World Split Open by Ruth Rosen
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Nov 23, 10



“ARMED AND DANGEROUS-EXTREME” is just one of many accusations lodged at the women’s movement of the later 20th century (243). The unearthed FBI files Ruth Rosen cited above recall a legacy of the women’s movement as radical, anti-male, and extremist. The World Split Open enlarges such limited perceptions of Second Wave feminism, while also accounting for its radical factions. This engaging monograph presents a thorough analysis of Second Wave feminism from a woman actively engaged in the movement.

Rosen commanded a variety of sources to tell her story, from key national organizations, to letters from women in Munsie, Indiana. Yet, despite its relative depth and breadth, The World Split Open doesn’t completely outline the crevices of this revolutionary split. Race and class consciousness were key elements in the formation of the movement, yet this monograph fell short in the examination of the movement from a race and class viewpoint. White, leftist, and educated feminists largely obscured what subtle recounts of race and class perspectives emerge. Structurally, the topical organization often marred the cohesive chronological understanding of the movement as it ebbed and flowed through various socio-political environments. Despite the chronological confusion and analytical gaps, The World Split Open still provides a relatively holistic understanding of the complexities of Second Wave feminism, from its successes to its unfinished business. For Rosen, it is the Second Wave’s unfinished business that embodies the torch to be carried by the next generation of revolutionaries.


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