Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present” as Want to Read:
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,256 ratings  ·  825 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
486 pages
Published October 21st 2010 by Back Bay Books (first published October 14th 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When Everything Changed, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sam In my edition, yellow cover with the reader's guide stamp in the lower left hand corner there are questions at the end. I don't know if these are avai…moreIn my edition, yellow cover with the reader's guide stamp in the lower left hand corner there are questions at the end. I don't know if these are available online anywhere. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,256 ratings  ·  825 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
Elizabeth Hall
Feb 07, 2013 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
Julie Ekkers
Nov 10, 2010 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
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
Kristy Miller
I was reading this book in October of 2016. I could only read about 10 pages at a time before I could feel my blood pressure going up, and the rage reaching a boiling point. And then the election happened. I was too lost in despair to continue the book, and I set it aside. Well, the despair is gone, but the rage is still here. I don't know if that will ever really leave. But I am ready to channel the anger.

This book has 3 parts. The first part describes the 1950's and early 1960's, and the statu
Alan Cook
Aug 09, 2015 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
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
May 25, 2015 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. ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good--maybe a bit too long--review of the feminist rev0lution. The book is told through quotes and headlines, but it really is amazing how long people have been complaining about how feminists ruined everything when there is still so far to go.
Dana Stabenow
Feb 21, 2011 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
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
Sep 08, 2012 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
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
Diana Band
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 23, 2009 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
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
May 31, 2012 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
Dec 08, 2010 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
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book group choice. I wanted to read it as I have liked Gail Collins' opinion pieces in the past. The book claims to cover American women's history from 1960 to the present. I was a little daunted by the 400 page length but found that the pages turned quickly. The writing is somewhat anecdotal, and not dense. I sometimes wished she had given dates or years to some of the events she is writing about. I lived through that time as an almost adult and then an adult and was aware of what wa ...more
Alex Ullberg
This book was an engaging study of the changes brough on by the 1960s by American women. I read it all in just over a day unable to resist the combination of women's personal stories and historical background. That being said, the book does have its flaws. I couldn't help but feel that the book would have been stronger with some more attention given to the gay rights movement of the time and how that impacted second-wave feminism. It also seemed like Collins didn't consider the polarization of p ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little guarded as I started this book because my life choices and politics might seen to go against the aims of feminism and it's not fun to feel defensive for 400 pages. But I love the history of women's rights and agree with and am grateful for the movement. It was anecdotally written almost and was so readable and interesting. Recommended. ...more
Robyn Grad
Mar 23, 2015 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. ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would start with the advent of The Pill, but it didn't, which surprised and pleased me. Highly informative read about the women in this country who fought battles large and small for women's rights. Take away piece of trivia: I had no idea Gloria Steinem got married in Wilma Mankiller's home. ...more
May 24, 2009 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! ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was amazed to realize I lived through the beginning and didn't even realize it. ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a must read if you're interested in how we got to now in women's history. ...more
Emily Whittington
This book is easy to read and filled with anecdotes that show how far women have come, persevered and most importantly how strong this gender is. Two that come to mind are Lorena Weeks refusing to lift her typewriter which was over 30 pounds making it fall under the law restricting how heavy objects can be that women can lift which prevented her getting a promotion. The other being Rose Ann Vuich ringing a bell in the Senate every time a speaker addressed his colleagues as "gentlemen". This book ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about women's history that I didn't know. The author put tons of research into this and it shows. However, I wish she had included more about queer women and trans women, because they were part of this amazing journey, too. The chapter on the civil rights movement was more than I was expecting, so I don't see why there couldn't have been a chapter on LGBT+ movement. ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am intensely grateful for my life today and the rights I have grown up with as normal: I can open a bank account, buy a house, hold a credit card, work a job, expect physical and sexual safety at work, home, and on the streets. I can get birth control or a divorce if I need to. I can speak up about abuse or harassment. I can vote and hold political office. I always knew that society and culture barred women from these things, but I had no idea that there were laws in place that restricted wome ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much has been done with so much left to do. Reading this at my age made me feel silly for the things those before that women had to fight for and then enraged for the things we are STILL fighting for!
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible read. Easy to access, full of stories that make me really feel the times. I feel like I kept bringing up what I was reading to everyone I meet. Sometimes more than once depending on what part of the book I was currently on. Definitely a book to read and then discuss with people.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
  • Development as Freedom
  • The Jewels of Halstead Manor (Ladies of Devon #1)
  • Full Frontal Feminism
  • Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy
  • Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other
  • The Woman Who Swallowed a Toothbrush: And Other Weird Medical Case Histories
  • When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II
  • Teh Itteh Bitteh Book of Kittehs: A LOLcat Guide 2 Kittens
  • The Whore's Child and Other Stories
  • Someday My Duke Will Come (Isle of Synne, #2)
  • A Good Duke Is Hard to Find (Isle of Synne, #1)
  • She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story
  • You Can't Send a Duck to Eagle School
  • Appetites: Why Women Want
  • Sea Wife
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
15 likes · 2 comments
“[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.” 3 likes
“How did I make a living? I haven't. I have eked out an existence." - Ella Baker” 2 likes
More quotes…