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Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words
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Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Juxtaposed with contemporary reports and biographical essays, the words of this legendary suffragist reveal Susan B. Anthony as a loyal, caring friend, and an eloquent, humorous crusader. "More than a collection of well-arranged quotations, the work informs, inspires, and gives historical perspective".--The Houston Post. 33 photos & illustrations.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 30th 1996 by Broadway Books (first published 1995)
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Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans
Most of us (both men and women) who take the right to vote for granted have no way to comprehend the struggle it was for those who fought and won that right. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Susan B. Anthony's own words from the beginning of her work with her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the mid 1800s to her death in 1906. As a secondary school student, I know that her name was mentioned occasionally, but I had no appreciation of the dedication and determination of this remarkable woman who was ...more
Mary Cook
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Lynn Sherr for giving us this compelling biography of our first woman politician in America.
A. S.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am a feminist. It doesn't mean that I'm a man-hater, it just means that I believe that women should have equal rights as men. I'm a huge believer in a sisterhood: I did reports on the suffragists (including Susan B. Anthony herself) when given free projects at school and I was a member of the Girl Scouts all the way through Seniors. But in all that time, I never gave serious thought to what it must have been like to actually not have those rights. Being a trailblazer is difficult because you ...more
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
Sherr used Anthony's own words to tell her story, its realism had me reading with fresh eyes. I had not realized that Anthony had some clear-eyed sense of prophecy, but also she may have suffered too much from her idealism. She said (no doubt apologies to Archimedes) 'give to a woman a ballot, the political fulcrum on which to plant her moral lever and she will lift the world into a nobler and purer atmosphere.' Anthony was misunderstood in her lifetime and repeatedly vilified right up to her ...more
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Susan B. Anthony has always been my heroine. But in English when we had to do an oral report on a biography we read, I automatically thought of reading a book on Susan B. Anthony. This book made me realize that she was so much more than a feminist. I have a completely new respect for this amazing women of American history. :)
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 1995 when it was released, so I don't remember very specific details. I do remember thinking that she was an amazing and important woman and that Lynn Sherr did SBA's story and legacy justice. It is now on my re-read list since a friend's 9 year old daughter, upon looking at her U.S. presidents placemat asked, "where are the girl presidents?". Maybe Hilary in 2016.
May 06, 2014 added it
Shelves: red-317
Interest Level MG (4-8)
Book Level 4.7

No Awards noted


The author Lynn Sherr took a collection of speeches, letters, and quotes by Susan B. Anthony. This book goes over all the aspects of her life.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Anything mostly compiled of Anthony is excellent, and Sherr--wisely--interjected with very little, and that which she did interject mostly delved into or darned the edges of already biographical detail spoken by Anthony heresef.
Michelle Adamo #emptynestreader
If ever there was a reason to vote in every election - no matter how small - it is in this book. "Failure is Impossible” tells the story of the struggle for the right of women to vote fought by Susan B Anthony and her peers. We should all show our appreciation by voting at every opportunity.
A fascinating story of the history of the suffragist movement, as told through Susan B Anthony’s own words, excerpted from her speeches and letters. At times slow-moving but always eye-opening (I picked it up
Laura Waxman
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I used it as a study for the novel I'm writing and had so many sticky tabs throughout it! A very well-put together book that inspires you to dedicate your life to a worthy goal.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This text features many quotes from Susan B. Anthony's speeches and letters, and it is clear from the get-go that this is a fascinating person. The author lets Anthony's words stand on their own, however, often without much discussion, and this was a missed opportunity. Researchers seeking resources on Anthony would be a good audience for this book.

Aug 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough, flowing writing. Honest portrayal of her contribution for women. Her tenacity & strength always intense.

The following is a quote that that speaks of her vision for the future that I find very intriguing.

"The women of the Twentieth Century will be the peer of man. In education, in art, in science, in literature; in the church, the state; everywhere she will be his acknowledged equal, though not identical with him. We cannot begin to see the good of this recognition.

It is
Justin Fox
Jun 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Inspired by the election this year, I wanted to read a good biography of Susan B Anthony. Most of the books I found were children's books, out of print, or out-of-print children's books. I thought this book seemed promising, but it let me down.

This is a collection of barely contextualized, often repetitive quotes, organized by subject matter (marriage, education) and presented with only superficial insight. It is more like reading someone's notes for a book than a finished product.

If entire
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
There are a lot of things I liked about this book - it really helped me understand the complete dedication Susan B. Anthony had towards the suffrage movement. There were offshoots that I found very interesting - about her helping prostitutes, abused women and children, slaves, being in favor of women wearing pants, and all sorts of interesting topics in between. I found that this is a good compilation of her speeches and a wonderful historical overview. I guess from a 'reading' perspective, it ...more
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-stuff
A collection of some of the writings of Susan B. Anthony, one of the grande dames of the suffrage movement. It was slow going, but fascinating stuff. I really felt like I got to know her--her tenacity and courage and wit and just sheer stubbornness. Highly recommended, especially for those interested in women's history.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
so far i have read her introduction and the first 6 chapters and so far it is really good actually. Because she has been through her father diying and her mother having a nother child. she was born with a twin sister but she died at birth
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book you can read over time - I read it off an on over a six month period. In a time when it seems like our vote doesn't matter and the tendency is to just not bother, this was a great reminder to not take the right to vote lightly.
Dec 23, 2016 marked it as to-read
* Understanding Oppression: African American Rights (Then and Now)
* Understanding Oppression: Womens Rights (Then and Now)
Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words #slavery #suffrage #feminism
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I was amazed by Susan's stamina when I read this book. I had no idea how old she was when she was traipsing around the country. Quite possibly one of the best books about determination I've ever read.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good one to pick up and read portions of the book at your leisure. It really makes you appreciate what an incredible woman Susan B. Anthony was and how much women owe her and those who fight for the right for women to vote.
Maria Raha
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Susan B.'s a lot more radical than you might think.
Suzii Paynter
Persist, hope, believe, organize, achieve.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't finish it. The writing approach just didn't grab me. May try it again later. I do want to know more about Susan B. Anthony.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading the primary sources in this book. It added so much to the personal story behind the woman of history who I admire.
Dec 25, 2010 marked it as to-read
want to read
Danielle Spalenka
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent source for learning all about the life of Susan B. Anthony.
Lindsey Fleck
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Olivia read for school - Womens rights project
Lisa F
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this difficult to read between the quotes, speeches, letters and the author's introduction or summary.
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2008
Patti Webb
rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2014
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Broadcast journalist and writer Lynn Sherr has been swimming since she was a toddler, learning first by watching frogs in a Pennsylvania lake. She has since expanded both her strokes and her waterways. For more than thirty years, she was an award-winning correspondent for ABC News. She is the author of many books, including Tall Blondes: A Book about Giraffes; Outside the Box: A Memoir, and ...more