The Woman's Hour
The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political victories in American history: the down and dirty campaign to get the last state to ratify the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote."Anyone interested in the history of our country's ongoing fight to put its founding values into practice--as well as those seeking the roots of current political fault lines--would be well-served by picking up The Woman's Hour." --Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hidden FiguresNashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the 'Antis'--women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel's, and the Bible.Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman's Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.

The Woman's Hour Details

TitleThe Woman's Hour
Author
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherViking
ISBN-139780525429722
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Feminism, Politics, Womens, North American Hi..., American History

The Woman's Hour Review

  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine F. Weiss follows a handful of brave women who fought for the right to vote with cameos from Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The narrative presented primarily takes place in Nashville, August 1920. By this time only one more state is required for ratification of the nineteenth amendment and everything falls on Tennessee. The op I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine F. Weiss follows a handful of brave women who fought for the right to vote with cameos from Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The narrative presented primarily takes place in Nashville, August 1920. By this time only one more state is required for ratification of the nineteenth amendment and everything falls on Tennessee. The opposition features politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and racists who don't want black women voting. There are also the 'Antis' - women who fear that their own enfranchisement will cause the moral collapse of the United States. All of these elements come together to face off in Nashville replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel's, and the Bible.This history book by Elaine F. Weiss is easily one of the most readable and comprehensive books on the women's suffrage movement focusing on ratification and Tennessee that I have ever had the opportunity to read. I've been reading quite a bit lately about that time period and women's suffrage, but this is hands down the most informative when it comes to such a key moment in history. The author also does a fantastic job of integrating history of the movement into the primary as well - I, for one, particularly enjoyed seeing Victoria Woodhull's name get brought up since she's so often left out (I'm glad that people are really beginning to learn more about her life). The author also does a great job of starkly laying out all of the movement's detractors, so matter-of-factly detailing their means, methods, and motivations for being on the other side of history. Finally, I'd also like to mention that Weiss also does a brilliant job of making her history book feel incredibly timely. Of course, the main events in the book take place 98 years ago, but she still does a fantastic job of making their battle feel like fresh and current.Overall, I highly recommend this new non-fiction book from Elaine F. Weiss all about everything finally coming together after a decades long struggle for women to cast their ballots. Every page of this inspiring 400+ page tome is inspiring and well worth your time. I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for future projects from this author.
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  • Teri
    January 1, 1970
    It is the battleground of Memphis, Tennessee in August 1920 where Carrie Catt and Alice Paul, suffragettes, stand toe-to-toe with Josephine Pearson, an anti-suffragette. The fight for the 19th Amendment comes down to one more needed state to ratify, giving the vote to women in America. It is an election year and Tennessee governor Albert Roberts wants to make sure he is re-elected. His stance on the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment" could make or break his campaign. In the hopes that the "woman vote" It is the battleground of Memphis, Tennessee in August 1920 where Carrie Catt and Alice Paul, suffragettes, stand toe-to-toe with Josephine Pearson, an anti-suffragette. The fight for the 19th Amendment comes down to one more needed state to ratify, giving the vote to women in America. It is an election year and Tennessee governor Albert Roberts wants to make sure he is re-elected. His stance on the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment" could make or break his campaign. In the hopes that the "woman vote" will get him another term, Roberts calls a special session of the Tennessee legislature to consider the amendment. The women of the suffrage movement are split between the Catt's National American Women's Suffrage Association and the more radical National Women's Party led by Paul. They both go after the men of Tennessee's House and Senate, while their opponent Pearson pulls some dirty tricks of her own to try to squash the vote. The days leading up to the vote are frenzied and stressful for all involved. Each side knows that whichever way the vote goes, it will be by a narrow margin. The savior of the day is one Harry Burn, who on the advice of his mother, makes a very last minute decision that heralds a monumental change in the lives of all American women.This is one of those non-fiction books that reads like a novel. The constant changes in those days leading up to the final vote can, at times, be nail-biting. It is a story that all women need to read. Many women fought to get the right to vote. Many women fought against it as well. I think a lot of modern women take the ability to vote for granted. It shows in our polls with only about 63% of eligible women voting in the 2016 November election. This is an excellent book that will make you want to go out and join the League of Women Voters and stand as a proud voter.
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  • Linh
    January 1, 1970
    This is truly excellent. I will never again believe that women were "given" the vote. They fought tooth and nail to get the enfranchisement. This is something that every woman should read.
  • Elizabeth☮
    January 1, 1970
    There are key figures in the battle to ratify the nineteenth amendment that I didn’t know about until reading this book.There is a lot of history to this one and it gave me a new appreciation for the women that fought societal norms to pave the road to suffrage. It wasn’t easy. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Women can vote, but make up a small percentage of political roles. Decisions made about women’s reproductive rights aren’t typically made by women. Women in the U.S. ar There are key figures in the battle to ratify the nineteenth amendment that I didn’t know about until reading this book.There is a lot of history to this one and it gave me a new appreciation for the women that fought societal norms to pave the road to suffrage. It wasn’t easy. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Women can vote, but make up a small percentage of political roles. Decisions made about women’s reproductive rights aren’t typically made by women. Women in the U.S. are some of the only ones that don’t get paid maternity leave. Women in the workforce still don’t see equal pay and are held back from moving up the ladder once they have children. So what this means is that we must harness the power of Carrie Catt and Alice Paul and keep the fight going. I am amazed at what it took for women to get the right to vote. I will do better to use my voice now that I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into it.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Elaine Weiss does a commendable job of writing about the last big battle before the ratification granting women the right to vote. The book reads like fiction and definitely helped me better understand both the Suffragettes and the "Antis'. There were so many different issues and players in this fight for ratification. It was amazing that it was passed and a true testament to the will and drive the Suffragettes had.Carl Sagan once said, "You have to know the past to understand the present" and M Elaine Weiss does a commendable job of writing about the last big battle before the ratification granting women the right to vote. The book reads like fiction and definitely helped me better understand both the Suffragettes and the "Antis'. There were so many different issues and players in this fight for ratification. It was amazing that it was passed and a true testament to the will and drive the Suffragettes had.Carl Sagan once said, "You have to know the past to understand the present" and Ms. Weiss' book helps us both know the past while giving us a way to understand our present - the question is will we take about the challenge entrusted to us?Read this if you like history. Read this if you are even a little bit political. But don't read if you only like fast-paced books that don't need a lot of consideration.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Wow, every time we walk into a polling booth we should be remembering these ladies and the battle they fought for our right to vote!4☆
  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    Highlighting the power of women's fight for equality in a single summer, this brilliant and timely narrative nonfiction is a wake up call. By looking back on our struggles, can we truly understand hidden and undervalued lessons gained that we take for granted today. Weiss' voice is not only readable but empowering as Daniel James Brown (Boys in the Boat) but as fascinating for both men and women to read. Plus we could take a page from their powerful methods of activism and continue to fight agai Highlighting the power of women's fight for equality in a single summer, this brilliant and timely narrative nonfiction is a wake up call. By looking back on our struggles, can we truly understand hidden and undervalued lessons gained that we take for granted today. Weiss' voice is not only readable but empowering as Daniel James Brown (Boys in the Boat) but as fascinating for both men and women to read. Plus we could take a page from their powerful methods of activism and continue to fight against oppression today. I hope when it's published in March, Women's history month, its only the beginning of it's long and needed life.
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  • Jeimy
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic work of narrative nonfiction that offers a behind-the-scenes look at what it took for Tennessee to ratify suffrage and how this led to women having the right to vote across the U.S.Sadly, many of the issues being discussed 100 years ago are still relevant today. Thankfully, women are reclaiming their political power. Let us hope that the unity created by the International Women Marches leads to changes at such a grand scale as that described in this book.
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  • Giselle Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars
  • Laura Hoffman Brauman
    January 1, 1970
    If we taught history like this book writes it, every student would want to study for a PhD. The Woman's Hour was riveting from the first page to the last. In 1920, the vote to ratify the 19th amendment and give women the right to vote was up in the Tennessee legislature. 35 states had voted to ratify, none in the south. Suffragettes and anti-suffragettes all collided in Nashville in a bitter struggle to determine whether or not women would gain the federal right to vote. There was literally a na If we taught history like this book writes it, every student would want to study for a PhD. The Woman's Hour was riveting from the first page to the last. In 1920, the vote to ratify the 19th amendment and give women the right to vote was up in the Tennessee legislature. 35 states had voted to ratify, none in the south. Suffragettes and anti-suffragettes all collided in Nashville in a bitter struggle to determine whether or not women would gain the federal right to vote. There was literally a nail biter finish equal to any thriller I have read or watched. I learned so much about this -- including the shameful pieces of how race impacted the anti-suffragette movement and how many suffragettes were willing to sacrifice equal rights for African-Americans if it got women the right to vote. This was incredible -- it would make an amazing film and at minimum, excerpts of this should be used in high school history classes. One of the most moving photos in the book was of Susan B Anthony's gravestone in November of 2016. Over 10,000 women took their "I voted" stickers and left them on the gravestone -- what an incredible tribute to the lifelong crusade of these women.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    This book was excellent. It reminded me how much politics has changed, and how much it has remained the same. I kept exclaiming, "I have lived this!" Especially as we approach the century anniversary of sufferage, this book seems timely.
  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a suffrage thriller! It's about the fight to get Tennessee to ratify the 19th amendment and it's a fascinating read. It's also super revelatory about the debates today. Here are a few takeaways and thoughts: 1. The anti-suffrage women--these are today's conservative women who always seem to be fighting against their own political representation. I will never understand it, but what was fascinating here is that every single phyllis schlafly and Sarah Palin and Tomi Lahern's today wo This book was a suffrage thriller! It's about the fight to get Tennessee to ratify the 19th amendment and it's a fascinating read. It's also super revelatory about the debates today. Here are a few takeaways and thoughts: 1. The anti-suffrage women--these are today's conservative women who always seem to be fighting against their own political representation. I will never understand it, but what was fascinating here is that every single phyllis schlafly and Sarah Palin and Tomi Lahern's today would say that of course they would be fighting for suffrage, but they wouldn't. That's the pathetic and sad truth. 2. The anti-suffrage men were in a few camps: bought by railroads or liquor interests who thought women would be against them and the men who thought that the women would join a womens party and unseat them. This goes back to point one, but it seems that everyone was afraid that women would join together and push female candidates and form a coalition to push for certain interests (against war, alcohol, corruption), but ha! Jokes on us, we totally didn't! Ugh!3. Shocking to me that Eleanor Roosevelt and Ida Tarbell were anti vote and so was Wilson's wife. I cannot fathom it. And Harding and Wilson seems to show not all that much strength either way here. 4. The racism of the suffragettes. Yikes. I mean, I sort of knew about Susan B. Anthony's infamous rants, but it seems to have been more pervasive (though not total). And it's just unbelievable that they would be willing to throw their black female sisters under the bus so that they could get the vote (though Anthony felt like Frederick Douglass through the girls under the bus to get the 15th amendment passed). But they wouldn't let Ida B. Wells march with them and they kept making arguments that the womens vote would not threaten white supremacy in the south (oh by the way, that's what this whole thing hinged on in Tennessee by the way--the Klan having long made the 15th amendment null and void. Charming). Such a great book.
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  • Krisette Spangler
    January 1, 1970
    I learned so much as I read through this great novel. There was just so much I didn't know about the suffrage movement. My only complaint was the organization of the novel often left me confused about the people I was reading about.
  • Andy Miller
    January 1, 1970
    A comprehensive telling of the political battle of Tennessee's ratification of the 19th amendment. The book immediately pushes back against today's perspective that ratification was inevitable; while 35 of the needed 36 states had already ratified, momentum had stalled and most of the remaining states were in the south where opposition was strong. Tennessee was seen as the most likely of the remaining states to ratify, a ratification defeat in Tennessee would have further stalled momentum and th A comprehensive telling of the political battle of Tennessee's ratification of the 19th amendment. The book immediately pushes back against today's perspective that ratification was inevitable; while 35 of the needed 36 states had already ratified, momentum had stalled and most of the remaining states were in the south where opposition was strong. Tennessee was seen as the most likely of the remaining states to ratify, a ratification defeat in Tennessee would have further stalled momentum and there was no easy state to follow."The Woman's Hour" follows the women leading the three major groups lobbying the legislature. The pro suffrage forces were divided into two groups, the mainstream National American Women Suffrage Association who sent their national President, Carrie Catt to Tennessee and the more militant Women's Party whose President Alice Paul stayed in Washington DC to raise money while Tennessee born Sue White led the ratification effort. The anti suffrage forces were led by native Josephine Pearson who recruited anti suffrage forces from within the state and throughout the country to Nashville to lobby against ratification.This history often reads like a suspense novel, there are betrayals, notably the Speaker of the House who repeatedly out maneuvered suffrage advocates with legislative rules and motions , there are leaders who come through such as the Governor who was often maligned by suffrage forces and paid for his support of suffrage with the end of his political career and there is drama such as pro suffrage representatives needing to go back home to a dying wife or very sick child. References to Harry Burn are scattered throughout the narrative building to the suspense to his surprise vote for ratification while wearing the anti-suffrage rose and just after he voted to table ratification which was defeated on a tie vote, the anti-suffrage Speaker immediately called for a ratification vote knowing that another tie vote would defeat ratification, but in the meantime Harry Burn received the famous hand delivered letter from his mom imploring him to vote yes.You can't discuss ratification of the women's suffrage amendment without discussing race. From the safety of today's political climate, many now simply dismiss the suffragists of a century ago as racists. This book does not shy away from disappointing actions from many of the suffragist leaders, the number of cringe inducing statements at the time distancing themselves from Black suffrage in the south and the lack of follow through by leaders like Alice Paul after women's suffrage was achieved. The book does provide the political context, the opposition to suffrage was openly based on racism. They argued that women's suffrage would give precedence for Black suffrage, that the amendment was similar to the hated 14th amendment imposed by the northern dominated Federal government that was written to provide equal protection to all, they quoted pro Black suffrage statements in women's suffrage writings and convention speeches. The anti suffragists repeatedly raised the specter of Black woman voters noting that across the country in states that allowed the women's vote, that Black woman voted at a higher rate than white woman did. The book notes that the Black suffragists at the time were unanimous in their support of the women's suffrage, something that the anti suffragists used against suffrage. The book does an excellent job of providing the historical facts that lets the reader decide this challenging and sad aspect of what was otherwise a tremendous victory in America's evolving strides toward progress
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  • ItchyFeetReader
    January 1, 1970
    A captivatingly readable narrative of the final weeks of a decade long fight to bring universal suffrage to the US through the ratification of the 19th amendment. Eye opening for the depth of the political shenanigans and blatant racism this exceptionally well researched book has a relevance today. “Carrie Catt was dismayed, but not deeply shocked, to find that, once again the freedom of American women might fall victim to the egos and ambitions of powerful men.” Thoughts Whilst Weiss provide A captivatingly readable narrative of the final weeks of a decade long fight to bring universal suffrage to the US through the ratification of the 19th amendment. Eye opening for the depth of the political shenanigans and blatant racism this exceptionally well researched book has a relevance today. “Carrie Catt was dismayed, but not deeply shocked, to find that, once again the freedom of American women might fall victim to the egos and ambitions of powerful men.” Thoughts Whilst Weiss provides a useful precis of the suffragist movement in the US from Seneca Falls onwards the focus of her attention here is the push to get the 19th Amendment ratified by a final 36th state. Tennessee was that state and as such much of the action plays out in Nashville although there are also some scenes in Washington and Ohio as she explores the backdrop of the upcoming Presidential election and the impact it had. Weiss covers a huge amount of ground and provides great pen portrait of all the major players. And there are many players introduced. Both Carrie Catt’s National American Woman Suffrage Association (the more traditional political movement) and Alice Paul’s Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and the National Woman's Party (the more radical group) were on the ground in Nashville as well as any number of female and male “Anti’s”. At first I found it a little challenging to keep up with all of the names and details but am glad I stuck with it as by the end these extra insights into the players was crucial in both understanding what happened and highlighting the final, painful dash to the finishing line. The details provided about many of the members of the Tennessee legislature were also helpful in understanding the double dealing and side changing that occurred as the voting got underway. However whilst a fantastic read and insight into both the broader movements and the minutia of what it took for American women to gain the vote I am mostly left with some strong lessons from history: 1) The confidence both sides of the debate had with embracing racism to achieve their aims. Many of the white suffragettes were more than willing to ignore their African-American counterparts if it got the job done, going so far as to advise black suffragist groups and campaigners to stay away. On the Anti side, the claims were even more overtly racist calling on the still painful memories of the Civil War and the rise of the KKK to campaign against anything that ‘risked’ an increase in African American voting rights. 2) The number of women in the Anti parties. Their reasons did not resonate with me but provide a useful insight into todays conservatives who vociferously support legislation that blocks and limits women’s rights. 3) The influence of the media and special interests – in this case the railroads and liquor industries (no mean feat in an allegedly dry state like Tennessee). Money, power and influence of these groups spilled across events with legislators changing sides throughout debates as pressure was applied. I think there is more to get form this one and imagine I will re-read again at some point in the future.
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  • Shel
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Viking for an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. Typically, anything non-fiction is not my jam BUT I kept hearing about this book and considering the plight of US women in 2017 I thought it was fitting to read it (and during Women’s History Month!). This book is not a “quick weekend read” by any means. There is a lot of information to take in and there were times where it was very overwhelming but what worked about this book was the way the story was lai Thank you to NetGalley and Viking for an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. Typically, anything non-fiction is not my jam BUT I kept hearing about this book and considering the plight of US women in 2017 I thought it was fitting to read it (and during Women’s History Month!). This book is not a “quick weekend read” by any means. There is a lot of information to take in and there were times where it was very overwhelming but what worked about this book was the way the story was laid out. Instead of reading like a textbook the author switched POVs between the Suffs, Antis, and Legislators. This made the book read more like an actual story than just someone’s historical account. Also, she dropped in little anecdotes that gave you insight into each figure. The level of research and detail in this book is amazing.Were there negatives? Sure. For one the book was long and there were moments were it dragged but that’s history for you. Also, it kind of pissed me off to see that views on women and minorities have changed like -1% since 1920 when all this went down. A few times I had to put the book down because it was difficult to read some of the nasty things that were said or thought. But all of that aside this is an important book to read especially if you are a women.
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  • AMY
    January 1, 1970
    404 pages. I read 22 pages (1 chapter) and could not go further. I tried reading this many days but never seemed to get very far. I finally decided I was going to at least finish the first chapter tonight. Even though I am sure the author did a great job of sharing all the numerous details of the suffrage movement, I really could not get into it due to the writing style. It seems like she is all over the place, dropping names, places, events, etc. all over the first chapter. I just could not get 404 pages. I read 22 pages (1 chapter) and could not go further. I tried reading this many days but never seemed to get very far. I finally decided I was going to at least finish the first chapter tonight. Even though I am sure the author did a great job of sharing all the numerous details of the suffrage movement, I really could not get into it due to the writing style. It seems like she is all over the place, dropping names, places, events, etc. all over the first chapter. I just could not get a grip on it all and it wore me out as a reader. I decided to skim through the photos in later sections of the book and learned a lot from those. I did not know that Tennessee was a key state that helped the movement gain their final vote for the 19th amendment. I admit I really need to learn more about this movement but I will seek another source, one that is shorter and less cumbersome. This is pretty high level reading and might be better suited for college studies on the subject.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    The United States Constitution has only been amended 27 times in its long history. Is it nearly perfect or it is difficult to get an amendment passed? The Woman's Hour is the story of the final weeks of the fight for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The amendment had been passed by both houses of Congress in 1919 and by the summer of 1920, 34 states had ratified and only one additional positive vote by any state was needed to add the "Susan B. Anthony" Amendment to the Constitution. Howev The United States Constitution has only been amended 27 times in its long history. Is it nearly perfect or it is difficult to get an amendment passed? The Woman's Hour is the story of the final weeks of the fight for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The amendment had been passed by both houses of Congress in 1919 and by the summer of 1920, 34 states had ratified and only one additional positive vote by any state was needed to add the "Susan B. Anthony" Amendment to the Constitution. However, since March 1920 several state legislatures had voted in the negative. The ratification fight came down to Tennessee. Detailing the conflict between the Suffragists and the Anti-Suffragists in Tennessee, this is a fascinating read that highlights the personalities--both male and female--and the politics that resulted in the ultimate victory for woman's voting rights.
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  • Amber Spencer
    January 1, 1970
    I believe I will think back on this book and the hundreds of women who gave much, and sometimes everything, every time I enter a voting booth. In just a short time, I am amazed that these women and their decades-long fight for the right to vote is something I have never really heard much about. To these women, and all those who today fight for what they believe in, I give my heart-felt thanks and love. Even though we may have different views about things, all American women owe these women so mu I believe I will think back on this book and the hundreds of women who gave much, and sometimes everything, every time I enter a voting booth. In just a short time, I am amazed that these women and their decades-long fight for the right to vote is something I have never really heard much about. To these women, and all those who today fight for what they believe in, I give my heart-felt thanks and love. Even though we may have different views about things, all American women owe these women so much gratitude for the right to walk into a voting booth and have their vote count.
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  • Rachel Rooney
    January 1, 1970
    A good nonfiction book about the fight to get Tennessee to ratify the 19th amendment. 36 states were needed for the amendment to become law and only 35 states had ratified so far. A handful of states had voted down the amendment. This is a compelling pageturner in Weiss's hands.
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  • Fornia
    January 1, 1970
    may or may not have cried
  • Kate Schwarz
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to be enthralled by this book, but I felt as if the author wanted to tell me every bit of research she uncovered in the process of writing this book. In my opinion, it was a little too lengthy.That said, I’m glad I listened to it. I’m glad to know more about the long, hard fight for the women’s right to vote.
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  • Carol Surges
    January 1, 1970
    The amount of detail in this review of the final ratification of the 19th Amendment is almost mind boggling and the extensive Notes and Bibliography stand as proof of the amount of work this title required. At times it's almost a minute-by-minute, play-by-play look at the struggle between the Suffs and the Antis as they worked around the clock at times to get the 36th state to ratify the amendment. Keeping track of the numerous players and which side they supported was challenging. A list of nam The amount of detail in this review of the final ratification of the 19th Amendment is almost mind boggling and the extensive Notes and Bibliography stand as proof of the amount of work this title required. At times it's almost a minute-by-minute, play-by-play look at the struggle between the Suffs and the Antis as they worked around the clock at times to get the 36th state to ratify the amendment. Keeping track of the numerous players and which side they supported was challenging. A list of names and affiliations would have been immensely appreciated. The up and down relationship between the blacks efforts for equality and the women's efforts to gain the vote are exposed along with the amount of subterfuge that went on as the opponents struggled to gain the upper hand.Weiss closes the book with a brief look at the aftermath of ratification and the long slog to get women to the polls in the numbers that the suffragists had anticipated.
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  • Leslie Goddard
    January 1, 1970
    From the cover, you'd never know this was a book about the battle for final ratification of the 19th amendment in Tennessee. That was my first big turn-off. It always turns me off when book publishers are not entirely clear about a book's actual theme in the title.Still, it’s a great topic. Women’s suffrage still isn’t as widely recognized and written about for the public as it ought to be. However, reading the book, I felt a lot of deja vu. It seemed like I was just reading the same stories -- From the cover, you'd never know this was a book about the battle for final ratification of the 19th amendment in Tennessee. That was my first big turn-off. It always turns me off when book publishers are not entirely clear about a book's actual theme in the title.Still, it’s a great topic. Women’s suffrage still isn’t as widely recognized and written about for the public as it ought to be. However, reading the book, I felt a lot of deja vu. It seemed like I was just reading the same stories -- yes, she tells them in an upbeat, engaging, very readable way. And yes, she does add a lot of details (a LOT of details) to the story of the final ratification battle in Tennessee.But there aren't a lot of fresh or new insights here. The same suffrage stories come up again and again that I've read over and over. Elizabeth Cady Stanton cutting out laws that are bad for women from her father's law books. Susan B. Anthony triumphantly writing to Stanton that she has voted. Alice Paul leading women into burning copies of Woodrow Wilson's speeches in urns in Lafayette Park. And on and on. The most amazing thing to me about this book is that these stories aren’t already well-known to most Americans. Other than, of course, the obvious one that they aren’t. Women’s suffrage has yet to be seen by mainstream culture as a major civil rights struggle.Focusing on the fight in Tennessee is interesting, although it gives that state a certain inevitability and significance that I'm not sure it deserves. While clearly the state had unique cultural conditions, and it deserves credit for the final ratification, Weiss did not convince me that it was miles-beyond-any-other-state important. The final state could have been Connecticut or Vermont or Delaware. It required, after all, 36 states total, and focusing on Tennessee obscures the importance of the other 35, which varied widely in their support for the 19th amendment.Like other readers, I also found it confusing how the book jumps forward and back in time. Although I can see why this was done, it does at times make the book jerky and the progress of women's rights activity hard to follow.Certainly, Weiss has made a nice contribution to popular awareness of women's suffrage and for that she deserves commendation. If this book does nothing else than raise the suffrage fight into greater public knowledge, it will do immense service to women's history in this country.
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  • Lisa Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Over the course of two steamy weeks in August 1920, hoards of suffragists, anti-suffragists, lobbyists and lawmakers descended on Nashville, Tennessee in a fight to the finish to make Tennessee the thirty-sixth and final state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote. This was the final chance and both sides would do whatever it took to win-bullying, bribery, blackmail, and even kidnapping. I was on the edge of my seat. I had no idea how close the suffragists came to los Over the course of two steamy weeks in August 1920, hoards of suffragists, anti-suffragists, lobbyists and lawmakers descended on Nashville, Tennessee in a fight to the finish to make Tennessee the thirty-sixth and final state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote. This was the final chance and both sides would do whatever it took to win-bullying, bribery, blackmail, and even kidnapping. I was on the edge of my seat. I had no idea how close the suffragists came to losing. This is narrative non-fiction at its best.
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  • Jayne
    January 1, 1970
    Given this ARC by Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury, MAInteresting account of a period in US History I am unfamiliar with. I do hope the final version comes with a list of major players and their affiliations...that would help tremendously.Saddened to read how the Suffs were held hostage to beliefs and ideals of the time and had to water down their goals in order to achieve legitimacy. The whole race issue is just shameful.
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  • Chris Jaffe
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really good book about the ratification of the 19th Amendment. It's not an exhaustive history of the movement from Seneca Falls in 1848 until final success in 1920. Instead, it's focus is much more narrow: the fight for the 36th state: Tennessee. Without Tennessee, they couldn't get the amendment ratified, and it was one closely fought battle. (Note: the book does cover some of the previous decades in overviews here and there - but this is a book on the fight for a 36th state.Carrie Ca This is a really good book about the ratification of the 19th Amendment. It's not an exhaustive history of the movement from Seneca Falls in 1848 until final success in 1920. Instead, it's focus is much more narrow: the fight for the 36th state: Tennessee. Without Tennessee, they couldn't get the amendment ratified, and it was one closely fought battle. (Note: the book does cover some of the previous decades in overviews here and there - but this is a book on the fight for a 36th state.Carrie Catt and Alice Paul were the national leaders who came to the state to help gain passage, but there were plenty of local leaders there as well. Both the suffragettes and their opponents (referred to as the Suffs and Antis by Weiss) typically had women as their spokespersons. For the Suffs, that seems natural - they were, after all, fighting for women's rights. But it also made sense for the Antis to have more women speaking out against it. These were generally traditionalist women, the "Home, Heaven, and Mother" crowd. The fight came down to an incredibly close vote - or, rather - two votes in quick succession. The Speaker of the House in the Tennessee legislature proposed a motion to table the bill. If it passed, it could be postponed indefinitely and never brought to the floor. It needed a majority, but failed on a tie vote, 48-48. If just one person voted the other way, it would've been stopped. (The keep vote for Banks Turner, who was a surprise "aye" vote. In fact, he waited so long to record his vote, his was initially classified as "not voting" and only after it was all done did he shout "aye" to give it the deciding vote. BUT that vote to avoid being floored meant nothing if the bill couldn't get a majority to pass. Another tie vote and the Speaker could vote "Nay" to break the tie. And again - one surprise vote won it. Harry Burn, the youngest member of the legislature, voted "Aye" - in part because his mother had written him a letter asking him to vote for it. It really helps the book that it has such a dramatic climax, but Weiss knows her stuff and effectively tells the story throughout. So why not five stars? Well, two problems I had - neither huge, but both there. First, the Tennessee senate vote was 24-5 in favor of suffrage, and Weiss noted that the lopsided majority surprised everyone. Why was it so lopsided? She never really says. In a book so heavily focused on the Tennessee fight, this is a notable oversight. Second, and less importantly, the book keeps referring to the events by the day of the week, virtually never by the date. Giving dates would help keep things clearer as to what's going on.There are other interesting nuggets throughout. Catt supported America's entry into WWI, and that helped win new supporters to the movement, including Pres. Wilson. Catt (along with Paul) were also willing to be pragmatic on racial issues. They needed southern states to support this and they'd never get it without placating southern racial attitudes. Catt even denounced interracial marriage. Please note that the movement began as an off-shoot of abolitionism back in the antebellum days. Warren G. Harding, running for president, kept waffling on the matter all fight long. Catt founded the League of Women Voters after the Amendment passed (or really, right before it did). Weiss sees that organization a bit as an opportunity lost, as it focused on basics like voter registration instead of being any sort of political force. Many leading suffragettes thought that women would add morality to politics and make the nation less inclined to wage war. But the women's vote, as a demographic block, fizzled. First, some didn't vote as often as men (and wouldn't for decades). Second, they didn't vote as a block. Weiss notes that a gender gap in political voting didn't get going until the 1980s. The rise of the women's vote didn't affect corruption or militarism or anything like that. Weiss notes that the Antis said that would happen - and they were right. Weiss also notes the Antis didn't go away. Conservative women were active in the Red Scare of the early 1920s, in the Cold War, and Weiss draws a straight line from the Antis to Phyllis Schalfy, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Laura Ingram. Quick thought: with 50 states, this would be harder to pass. They needed only 36 of 48 states, but now they'd need 38 out of 50. One reason why Tennessee was such a hard fight was that the Suffs didn't see many options beyond Tennessee for that 36th state.
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  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    It took 71 years and generations of women (and some men) to gain the vote for women in the U.S. through ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution—from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, where the convention-approved Declaration of Sentiments first put the issue in the political arena, until 1920, when a constitutional amendment finally gained ratification by the states.While today it might seem inconceivable that women could be prevented from voting, passage of the amendment was n It took 71 years and generations of women (and some men) to gain the vote for women in the U.S. through ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution—from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, where the convention-approved Declaration of Sentiments first put the issue in the political arena, until 1920, when a constitutional amendment finally gained ratification by the states.While today it might seem inconceivable that women could be prevented from voting, passage of the amendment was not a sure thing in 1920 and the reasons become clear to us through the author’s telling. Many of the conditions surrounding the ratification echo in today’s politics. In 1920, Warren Harding was elected with a slogan “America First”. Fear of immigrants was extremely high leading to changes in the law that extremely limited immigration into the U.S. Opponents of women’s suffrage used racism, states’ rights and corporate money to fight it. In many ways, this was a fight between urban America and rural America. Elected officials were much more concerned on how it would impact their reelection than whether it was the right thing to do. Just like today, limiting the voters for your opponents was a way to remain in power or, for corporations, keep your supporters in power.Focusing on the climax of the fight, the vote by the Tennesee legislature to make the state the 36th state and last state needed to ratify the amendment passed by Congress the previous year, the book looks back over the previous 71 years to explain the context of the conflict in Tennessee’s capital. The battle in Nashville overflowed with both political and personal drama. All arguments from the past in favor and against the women’s vote were used and every political lever that could be pulled was pulled by both sides. At the end, it came down to a change in heart by one Tennessee legislator after a letter from his mother.This is a compelling story in which the author brings the participants to life and allows the reader to reflect on the lessons for today’s political battles. It was the hard work and persistence of women in fighting for the right cause that carried the day over the fear and selfishness of their opponents.
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  • EB
    January 1, 1970
    I’m embarrassed to admit that as a history major I didn’t know much about the ratification of the 20th Amendment, or the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Weiss’ thoroughly researched book goes into tremendous detail about the fight for ratification in the state of Tennessee. The fight was local, at times nasty, and ended up pitting women against one another, and not just on the pro and anti suffrage side. There is much to be learned here about grass roots organizing, and the lessons learned resonate w I’m embarrassed to admit that as a history major I didn’t know much about the ratification of the 20th Amendment, or the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Weiss’ thoroughly researched book goes into tremendous detail about the fight for ratification in the state of Tennessee. The fight was local, at times nasty, and ended up pitting women against one another, and not just on the pro and anti suffrage side. There is much to be learned here about grass roots organizing, and the lessons learned resonate with what is happening in our country today. The past was not as gentle as one would think. Women were beaten and jailed in terrible conditions. There was overt smearing of campaigns and of individuals. Many of the arguments played out in the newspapers of the day. Close to the surface of the fight against suffrage is a very clear racist argument made by those who were already against black male suffrage, and who feared that giving black females the right to vote would push them out of power. The fight for civil rights for African Americans and the fight for equal rights for women will forever be interlinked. As a writer Weiss has done her research. However at times it’s unclear whether she is writing for an academic audience or for a wider audience by going into detail about some of the influential characters at the time. What remains consistent throughout is the fundamental leadership, vision and influence that Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul had on the movement. Though they ended up splitting bw a progressive vs radical platform, there is no question that their presence was influential, revered or hated. What could have very easily led to an unsuccessful campaign due to this split ended up winning, by the skin of their teeth, and by sly and smart campaigning by extraordinary women. If this story of the fight for Tennessee ratification were made into a movie or play right now, it would be incredibly prescient, and remind those of us who get more upset by the day about the state of our union a much needed boost of optimism to continue the fight.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    On a hot Nashville summer in 1920, after decades of unrelenting work, Tennessee became the necessary 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. In The Woman’s Hour, Weiss gives an in-depth look at the people and events that led to that historic moment—both the good and bad. What I love most in a nonfiction books is the feeling of learning something new. And this book certainly gave me that. I don’t think I ever realized how woefully little I knew about the women’s On a hot Nashville summer in 1920, after decades of unrelenting work, Tennessee became the necessary 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. In The Woman’s Hour, Weiss gives an in-depth look at the people and events that led to that historic moment—both the good and bad. What I love most in a nonfiction books is the feeling of learning something new. And this book certainly gave me that. I don’t think I ever realized how woefully little I knew about the women’s suffrage movement or the ratification of the 19th Amendment before reading this book. The amount of detail covered in this book was, at times, overwhelming and definitely slowed down my reading pace. It took me a while to get through this book—but honestly, that’s not always a bad thing. While I do think the book occasionally got bogged down in excessive detail, there is also something to be said for a book that genuinely attempts to fully recount a moment in history fairly and from all sides. I think this book does that. The Woman’s Hour isn’t just the story of Carrie Catt’s National American Women’s Suffrage Association, but also the more radical National Woman’s Party and the Anti-Suffrage movement led by both men and women. I especially appreciated that Weiss didn’t gloss over the racism that often went hand in hand with not only the Anti movement, but sometimes the suffrage movement itself. It’s important to remember that thought women got the vote in 1920, the right to vote was not and (in some cases, because of complicated voting laws and intimidation tactics) still is not truly universal. We’ve come a long way… but we still have a long way yet to go. This book isn’t particularly narrative and it may be too dry and detailed for some people, but for lovers of nonfiction and anyone looking to get a much deeper understanding of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States or exactly what it took to get the 19th Amendment to pass, I can’t imagine a better book to read.**Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
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