I bought Gail Collin’s book America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines when she was in town giving a speech a couple of years ago. Knowing her wonderful and quietly obstreperous columns currently in the New York Times (she used to be Editorial Page Editor), I knew the book would be fun.
I’ve dipped in and out of it since, reading this funny and rowdy history by chunks. She’s a meticulous researcher, and has a clear eye for seeing what’s really going on – even when it happened several hundred years ago. As she gets into our current timeline, there is a lot of skewering, but with Gail, one barely notices. She has a sense of humor and a smile as she points out what we’ve put up with, and what we’ve done to ourselves.
So if you want to really understand how we got from long skirts near open kitchen fireplaces, and as many kids as we could pop out before we died, to today’s women – this is a great book to explore and then mull over. Gulps, smiles, shivers – they are all here.