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markk

markk

Currently reading

The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox
Vanda Krefft
Progress: 277/944 pages
The Paraguayan War, Volume 1: Causes and Early Conduct
Thomas L. Whigham
Progress: 192/520 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 240 pages.

Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women's Right to Vote - Johanna Neuman

I am not liking this book. In one sense it's well written; Neuman does a good job of evoking New York/Newport society during the Gilded Age, and her descriptions of people are engaging. Yet it's surprisingly unfocused; she tells three different stories of how elite women inaugurated their participation in the suffrage movement, and the fact that she does so out of order and with no linkage between them suggests a degree of incoherence. Worse, there's no real analysis; she's not showing how they "fought for the vote" besides hosting a lot of well-publicized meetings. Their links to the broader suffrage movement are under-addressed. and there's no explanation of their strategy beyond a description of the ladies' expertise in garnering media attention. Was their strategy to use their social stature to make suffrage appear more acceptable? Were they hoping that the very association of their august names with suffrage would win over recalcitrant anti-suffragists? Neuman doesn't really bother to delve beneath the glamorous surface here, which is frustrating.