Elevate Difference's Reviews > From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World, Vol. 3

From Eve to Dawn by Marilyn French
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's review
Jan 10, 2009

it was amazing
Read in January, 2009

Marilyn French’s fiction has been some of the most important in my personal life, though the depth of her scholarship easily rivals her most page-turning novel. Perhaps because she is such a skilled novelist—most well known for her seminal ‘70s best seller, The Women’s Room—French is able to write necessary history with an incredible depth of knowledge, all while remaining concise and consumable.

While the From Eve to Dawn series was first published in 2002, French spent fifteen years prior researching and writing. With no publisher willing to take on 10,000 pages of women’s history in one go, French eventually compromised and scaled back her work, also revising along the way, as many predictions she had made—that Serbia would attack other Yugoslavian states, that Islamic fundamentalism would continue to grow—came to pass.

Infernos and Paradises, the third book in the series of four, weaves through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tracing various struggles and triumphs of female activists around the world, mostly those in the United States, the United Kingdom, and parts of Africa. From the Industrial Revolution to the Civil War, from United States suffrage to the ways modern medicine and science represses women’s biological and psychological freedoms, French turns a keen eye on how capitalism, in particular, is responsible for the war against women. As the developed world has progressed in many ways—often on the backs of an increasingly female workforce—male leaders in a variety of fields have used their power to marginalize women’s experiences and voices. For feminists who do not believe capitalism is an enemy of women everywhere, this easy-to-digest, textbook-style volume should be required reading.

A distinctly global, female-centric version of The People’s History of the United States, the entire From Eve To Dawn series is indispensable for a scholar, a feminist historian, and anyone committed to writing women back into history.

Review by Brittany Shoot
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