Karen's Reviews > Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York

Sex Wars by Marge Piercy
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's review
Mar 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, american-history-nf-fic
Read in March, 2012

Books that keep me thinking long after I have finished the last page get more stars from me. Although I don't agree with all that these true characters thought and did, I believe that they made a (mostly positive) difference in U.S. history. I knew a little about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but glad that the author really brought them alive in this work of historical fiction. I checked and learned that the facts of their actions are correct and that their writings show the feelings portrayed in this novel are close to their original thoughts. Author simply creates dialogue to keep the story moving quickly. I found Victoria Woodhull fascinating. Knew she ran for president in 1872, but knew nothing else. Don't agree with her belief in free love, but don't feel she should be persecuted for her views either. Amazed at loyalty to her beastly parents! Anthony Comstock, an anti-obsenity crusader, comes across as a horrid man. He is responsible for the Comstock Act enacted March 3, 1873, a United States federal law which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information. While I am concerned that dangerous use of pornography may lead to terrible abuse of women and children, I am also concerned about the interpretations of "obscene, lewd, and lascivious materials." Questions about censorship and free speech are difficult!

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