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Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (Free Press)
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Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (Free Press)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The most concise and comprehensive one-volume history of American women—from the indigenous women of the 16th-century wilderness to the dual-role career women and mothers of contemporary times—this book brings American womanhood to center stage, exploring the lives of pioneers and slaves, immigrants and factory workers, executives and homemakers.
Paperback, 408 pages
Published August 22nd 1997 by Simon & Schuster (first published May 1st 1989)
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Evans has a unique voice. The organization and presentation of this book was great and thought provoking.
In opening the section on Women and Modernity, 1890-1920, Evans sets the scene for the response to industrialization by relating the speech given by the black reformer Frances Harper at the 1893 World's Fair at Chicago. Speaking to the role that women could play in the future of America, she was all to familiar with the Jim Crow violence of the American South. It was an exciting time and a violent time, as many periods of rapid change are. And it was, above all, a time where the issues of class ...more
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm interested in this book's topic, a history of women and women's rights in America. But while it's a good idea and I did learn a lot, the book is really poorly executed. It's not very well organized and the writing is awful. Here's an example of the verbose, vague, slightly confusing kind of writing used throughout: "Yet the blandness of the firties' domestic ideology and cold war conformity masked new signs of discontent and change. Although most women expereince problems as individuals, col ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
Warning: I read this for a Women's History Class

I never would have picked up this book except for the fact that it was required reading in a class of mine. That being said, it was so dry like every other textbook but I will not deny that it contained as much information as any one book could hope to contain.

If you want to brush up on your history, get a broad view of women throughout American society, or if you need something to help you fall asleep, I would recommend this book.
Brimming with facts, history, religion, politics, sports and sexual mores, this book is an intense, in-depth course on the status of American women. From the Native Americans to the current melting pot, the state of womanhood was ever in flux. The writer ably picks out how the concept of femininity was one that could change drastically from one generation to the next, affected by such disparate elements as war, poverty, invasion, diseases and shifting governmental policies.

the book bogs down in
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in preparation for a course I'm teaching that will spend part of its focus on American women's history. Evans' survey is incredibly accessible, well-researched, and informative. Born for Liberty is impressive in both its depth and breadth. Most importantly, Evans does not focus exclusively on the history of white women in America. She works to paint a portrait of women of color in each of the chronologically-progressing chapters in her book. The only frustrating portion of the b ...more
Andrew McHenry
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a good read. She begins in the pre-colonial era by looking at the experiences of Native American women, and traces through the history going up to the time of writing (mid to late 1980s). She's good about incorporating different ethnic groups and cohorts' experiences into the mix, sometimes drawing from limited resources. (She acknowledges the dearth of research early in the book, but gives a detailed bibliographical essay at the end.) The book moves from sheer history more into commentary ...more
Dora Carson
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a thorough history of women’s political involvement from the revolution through the mid-1990s. It also addresses issues of women’s changing personal lives. The main focus of the book is on the lives, work, and activism of white, middle class, heterosexual women. The author makes a concerted effort to include discussions of Black, immigrant, Native American, and poor women, as well as lesbians; in most cases, however, these discussions remain a footnote. Nevertheless, this book is an exce ...more
Jun 15, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was thorough. VERY thorough. For what it set out to accomplish, it was great. The narrative was inclusive of all American women, and made a point to tell the stories of American Indian and African American women from the very conception of the country. However, it was far too dense for me. I learned some interesting things but I slogged through it. A history buff would enjoy it far more, I'll sure ...more
Angela Sanders
Summary: Women are awesome, have been so since before the United States was the United States, and will continue to be so in the future.

While not the most exciting book I’ve ever read, I have to say that I think I hit gold with this one. I picked it up at a Half Price Books clearance sale, or maybe it was a library book sale? I don’t remember, but no matter what, I am sure that I payed $2 or less for it. Definitely worth it. It read like a history book that was all about women, ONLY about women
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Evans sets out with the ambitious aim to cover the breadth of women's history in the United States and generally succeeds.

I am by no means an expert on women's studies, so I consider myself part of the intended audience for this book. As such, I have to say that I learned a lot (especially about women in the earliest years of our country) and also benefited from being able to put important events in women's history in chronological order and understand better how previous movements helped to bui
Jennifer Donahue
Nov 03, 2007 rated it liked it
A concise overview of the history of women in America that is easy to read and well documented. Evans touches nicely upon the major aspects and concerns facing women stretching from the 16th century to the late 1990s. I learned a fair amount, but found the perspective presented somewhat biased and lacking objectivity in presenting all sides of the story of women in America.

Men are pretty well stereotyped during the discussion of suffrage, and the anti-suffrage movement does not reference many o
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent introductory work to women's social and political history in the U.S. Was considering using it for a session on the early women's rights movement for a study group I'm helping to lead, but decided to go with other texts that were richer in detail. ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Very helpful for my course.
Mar 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I read this book as a graduate student so very long ago. It opened my eyes to a new way of looking at history.
Kathy Nadeau
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A powerful read.This book is a varied and expansive view of the profound role women have played in the history of creating America.
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have a new appreciation for women in American history
Amalauna Brock
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Evans work is a wonderful overview of America women's history. It's an excellent primer for all readers. ...more
Denice Fraser
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a bit dry, but FULL of great stuff. I read this in a Women's History class and am standing up a bit taller now! ...more
Brittany Huff
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The most concise and broad sweeping history of America I have ever read through a woman's eyes. Includes many minority stories as well ...more
Jim Swike
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great read about Women's history in this country. ...more
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a goodie, but seemed to lose steam once it reached the 50's (or maybe I became less interested). I really enjoyed the older histories and personal accounts. ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Loved reading America's history through women. If you enjoy history, you should really pick this up. Talk about a whole new perspective! ...more
Sep 27, 2007 rated it liked it
A Cheerleading tale of the bougies
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I originally read the older edition, and have assigned the new edition as a text for a class. This is a well written overview to U.S. women's history. ...more
Dec 30, 2007 added it
Still have this book from my college fem. class.
Sep 14, 2007 added it
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Jul 02, 2012
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Jan 15, 2014
Becky Williams
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Aug 10, 2014
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Sara M. Evans is a distinguished scholar and Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Minnesota where she taught women's history since 1976. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Librarians note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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