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Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather: A Scandalous History of Birds, Hats and Votes
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Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather: A Scandalous History of Birds, Hats and Votes

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  7 reviews
'Shocking and entertaining. The surprising story of the campaigning women who changed Britain.' Virginia Nicholson

‘Full of fascinating historical detail and colourful characters… A great story, beautifully told.’ Kate Humble

When Mrs Pankhurst stormed the House of Commons with her crack squad of militant suffragettes in 1908, she wore on her hat a voluptuous purple feather.
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Aurum Press
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3.93  · 
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 ·  44 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Nann
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I acquired this book after it was a reader recommendation in the Christian Science Monitor. It's the second book about feathers I've read this season. (See: The Feather Thief.)

Boase tells the story of two women activists in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. One is remembered today -- suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. The other is nearly unknown -- conservationist Margaretta (Etta) Lemon. Not only does Boase provide the history of their movements but she also compares and contrasts the publi
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Rakie Keig
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rather interesting coverage of the origins of the RSPB and the (now mostly forgotten) women who spearheaded a movement, founded a royal society, and helped preserve thousands of species of birds from slaughter. The author cleverly ties it in to the suffragist movement, which grew at about the same time and in parallel to the RSPB. It's a different perspective on a part of history that we should all probably know more about. I found it fascinating, if a little heavy-going at times.
Jaimie-lee Northey
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The delightful title made me pick this book up in a bookstore, and I'm glad I did. This isn't simply the story of Pankhurst's and the suffragettes. It looks at two campaigns - to get women the vote and the stop bird feathers, skins and parts being used in women's hats. I've seen feathers used in women's clothing in historical dramas and I never really though about it before, but birds had to die to make each one, and as women did not go outside hatless, millions of birds died to make hats for wo ...more
The Literary Shed
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A vivid history melding the burgeoning women's movement, headed by Pankhurst, with the emergence of the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, spearheaded by the formidable (and deliciously named) Mrs Etta Lemon. With competing agendas, both fight for the rights of their particular groups and against the men wanting to steer their agendas. This is a fascinating and alternative history of women's rights in Britain and a gruesome look into the decimation of many beautiful avian species for nothing ...more
Naomi Hoffman
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I really loved hearing about the difference Etta Lemon and Emmeline Parkhurst made in Victorian and Edwardian society. As a woman we take it as a given that we have the vote. I loved hearing about the different types of campaign to get both the conservation message across. It’s worth remembering most good ideas start over a cuppa. I liked learning all about how people lived in that age.
Cath Smith
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A fascinating comparison between the deservedly famous suffragette, and the undeservedly unknown ladies who founded the RSPB and arguably changed the face of conservation.
Margaret P
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very informative book I learnt a lot of things I didn't know! I knew a bit about sufregettes but I didn't know about the origins of the RSPB which began at around the same time! A great read
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Tessa Boase grew up in the Ashdown Forest, Sussex; studied English at Oxford and Italian in Florence; and has worked for a variety of magazines and national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph.
As a freelance journalist she's written widely on society, the environment, the food chain, and the link between all three. As a narrative non-fiction author, her interests lie in uncovering stories of
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