review · two stars

Review: Feminism Unfinished by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry

FeminismUnfinishedTitle: Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements
Authors: Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry
Rating: ★★
Summary: Eschewing the conventional wisdom that the American women’s movement began in the nostalgic glow of the late 1960s, Feminism Unfinished traces the beginnings of this seminal American social movement to the 1920s, creating an expanded, historical narrative that dramatically rewrites a century of American women’s history. The authors carefully revise our “wave” vision of feminism, challenge the contemporary trickle-down feminist philosophy, and show how history books have obscured the notable activism by working-class and minority women – providing a much-needed corrective.


Feminism Unfinished knows its history, but the book – split into three sections, each written by a different author – is nonetheless a dry, textbook history of, as the title suggests, American women’s movements from 1920. I think that, in trying to cover everything, the authors left a lot out, and what was covered was just not that interesting. (Is it an age thing? Maybe it’s an age thing.) This is recommended for readers who don’t have the time to sit through a semester-long course on women’s studies and just want the quick and dirty lowdown of capital-F Feminism.

This book really left me wanting a bit more. Below are other feminist titles I have on my TBR I think might fill that gap.

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