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Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Linda Hirshman, acclaimed historian of social movements, delivers the sweeping story of the struggle leading up to #MeToo and beyond: from the first tales of workplace harassment percolating to the surface in the 1970s, to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal—when liberal women largely forgave Clinton, giving men a free pass for two decades. Many liberals even resisted the movemen ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Jan 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2021
Hirshman charts the history of feminism and the fight against sexual harassment from the mid-20th century to the #MeToo movement. Being reasonably well versed in events from Anita Hill's story and the whole Clinton-Lewinsky mess on and into the present day, I found the early parts of the book the most interesting. The author gives a solid overview and touches on numerous aspects, but seems rather dismissive of and condescending towards anyone whose opinions she doesn't embrace. Of course, in her ...more
Camille McCarthy
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is about the history of legal fights against sexual abuse and harassment. It starts in the fifties and builds up to the present-day with the #MeToo movement. I thought it was a good topic for a book and I got a good overview of the legal battles to make sexual harassment in the workplace something that could be litigated against and the process of putting in place legal protections against sexual harassment and abuse. It is mind-boggling that asking someone for sex at work was once see ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is so bad! Her conviction that Catharine MacKinnon is the driving force of all feminism gives her a skewed perspective, where she measures everyone's rightness by whether or not they've read MacKinnon, or talked to her, and where she conflates pornography with sexual harassment. (She also bizarrely starts her story with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick. I don't think I'd categorize leaving someone to die as sexual harassment exactly.) I highlighted one egregious passage in which she criti ...more
Patrick Kelly
Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment
By Linda Hirshman

- [ ] The history of feminism and the different waves
- [ ] Bill Clinton and women splitting over his affair
- [ ] Some women that don’t support Hillary
- [ ] Reagan starting splitting the parties between men and women
- [ ] The ever dangerous white women
- [ ] Ted Kennedy and Chapaquidick
- [ ] He challenged Carter in ’80 but lost in Iowa because women came out against him for Chapaquidck, his womanizing, and supporti
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great historical background up what has led up to the #MeToo movement and why some folks, like black women have been in the struggle and engaged much longer and deeper than white married women. White married women have been a problem - that come to the workforce later and even 52% voted against their own interests in the presidential election.

Much to be done and after someone reads this, they will gain some wisdom as to how things must change.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the oldest history sections but once it got into the era of things I was old enough to have experienced at the time I was distracted by small errors (E.g. Dick Gephardt is from Missouri not Nebraska) and wished that an emphasis on women of color had continued through - for instance, it would have been nice to go beyond the general acknowledgment that Tarana Burke created the #MeToo hashtag a decade ago and into what the activist world around her looked like at the time.
Chris Jaffe
This is a very good book about the history of the issues of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in modern America. Early feminists realized that sexual harassment could qualify as discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and fought to make it so. The film "9 to 5" helped raise popular awareness of the issue - and was based on interviews with real working women and their problems. There was a push against porn (for encouraging sexual violence) in the 1970s, but that was pushed back as an inf ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
In light of the #MeToo movement, Reckoning is a fascinating exploration of the history of combatting sexual harassment and assault in the United States. Beginning in the 1960's, we follow key court cases and touchstone moments in society, including overviews of the different waves of feminist thought and how they intersected with these issues. It is wild to see how far we have come and how different the thinking on these issues was not so very long ago. There is discussion of sex in the workplac ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an important book about the ongoing campaign to free women from the workplace threat of sexual violence and abuse that culminated in the #MeToo Movement (finally) that unseated offenders like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and a who’s who of abusive men in power. Hirshman traces progress in the three tracks of this battle: the law, electoral politics, and the culture. She has plenty of blame to spread around, for women not having made more progress, but liberal Democrats get special scorn ...more
Taylor Kozak
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing history that chronicles the importance of the feminist movement. Holding a narrow majority of the nation, women need to be given respect. But the “history” (pun intended) of sexism, harassment, and abuse have plagued all women no matter their color, sexual orientation, political background, occupation, relationship status, or socioeconomic standing (not to discount that some of those groups suffer greater than others, specifically women of color, and women of poor socioeconomic standing) ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This wasn't great! As much as Hirshman seemed to be skewering popular feminist movements for lack of focus and organization - I think she tried to do too much with this, and things got lost. In the introduction and maybe also first chapter, she does go hard against white women who have sold out gender equity and justice for comfort and I was here for that, but then doesn't have much to offer as the book goes on about it. There's definitely some very good research in here, I think as another revi ...more
Tangled in Text
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved getting to learn more about the evolution of feminism. From the media’s influences with Linda Lovelace and her experiences that lead to her fighting for her rights to the musical 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias portraying some daring feminist displays for their times.

I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the laws that have formed our rights, but not about what was behind those influences. The media influences the public more than anything and it was great to hear an evolution of ideas from a
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Solid account of the history of anti-harassment law and culture trends leading up to #metoo. Ultimately surface-level and unstructured. Lots of detail about Weinstein, almost none about Cosby or other powerful predators. Lots of detail about Anita Hill vs Clarence Thomas, and Clinton-Lewinsky, but the detail is confusing and reduced my ability to see the forest through the tangle of underbrush.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this to be an interesting and engaging read. Having been the victim of sexual harassment in another country I liked how the book appeared to tell the history, the frequency and the way in which sexual abuse and harassment may occur. It’s a great read and one that is written in a way that encouraged me to continue reading without sensationalizing anything.
Derek Lynch
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great read, and a powerful telling of the history of sexual harassment law in this country that got us to the #MeToo movement. I was appreciative of all of the legal background, though at times it was a bit overwhelming. Beyond that, I’d say this is a necessary read for anyone who wants to understand how we got to the point of #MeToo and #TimesUp as national conversations.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, nonfiction
This book is an exceptional history of the feminist movement from the 1950s to today. I learned so much from reading this and it has helped to put words behind the arguments I’ve been wanting to make for years now. I highly recommend that everyone reads this book immediately.
Katherine Lavelle
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book covers so much ground on the development of sexual harassment law and policy in ways that are clear, informative, and infuriating. Hirshman is a strong writer who brings together a variety of threads about this important area of law and policy.
Amanda Irving
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read up to Chapter 6 in this book. The first half of the book was interesting. I learned some new information. Up to Chapter 6, I honestly became bored with the book and was not interested in it anymore.
Vicki Davis
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning and life-changing
Lisa Neal
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought I was well-informed about the fight for women’s rights, but I still learned a lot from this book. I find it hard to believe we have made so little progress. Good reading.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The threads of different actions are brought together well, but there is some odd phrasing and assumptions that were jarring. Highly worth reading.
PottWab Regional Library
Jun 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019-new
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Puts #MeToo into legal, political, historical and cultural context
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: human-condition
Very informative.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Paris Abell
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The legal stuff can get a bit dense but overall the book is fabulous. It will inspire and piss off a lot of people.
Naomi Lambert
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. An interesting overview of the 20th and 21st century battle against sexual harassment at work. Well worth reading.
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The book is realy amazing. I really liked it.

Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a great first half in giving background on the fight against sexual harassment starting in the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s. Several little known (to me) court cases are highlighted and showcase just how abysmal work conditions were for women in these times and how incremental and steady progress was made to combat these wrongs. The second part of the book loses a bit of steam as we enter the modern era – perhaps because everything is so fresh? Some detail is given to the Kava ...more
Lani Evans
rated it it was ok
Apr 19, 2020
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