Apr 10, 10
Read from April 02 to 03, 2010
A Short History of Women feels like a compilation of short stories and vignettes that manages to weave an overarching narrative around four generation of women beginning with Dorothy Townshed who died as a hunger striker fighting for female suffrage in England at the beginning of the 20th C. I normally am drawn to much longer books that focus on the development of a small group of characters and oftentimes find shorter books less fulfilling. Similar to Dara Horns "The World to Come" I was pleasantly surprised how this book was short (just over 300 pages) but still managed to create engaging characters who were believably involved in major 20th C. events from woman's suffrage in England, WWII, housewife feminism of the 70's and post-9/11 American politics. I also enjoyed that the book was so unabashedly focused on women without being feminine, overly-romantic or predictable. The quick switches between characters can be a bit confusing but a quick glance back at the "family" tree usually solved the problem for me.