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09 November 2009

When Everything Changed by Gail Collins - A Book Review

Title: When Everything Changed
Author: Gail Collins
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 14, 2009
Hardcover: 480 pages
ISBN: 9780316059541
Genre: History, Social Science



Gail Collins, New York Times columnist and bestselling author, recounts the astounding revolution in women's lives over the past 50 years, with her usual "sly wit and unfussy style" (People).

When Everything Changed begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands' permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton's historic presidential campaign. This was a time of cataclysmic change, when, after four hundred years, expectations about the lives of American women were smashed in just a generation.

A comprehensive mix of oral history and Gail Collins's keen research--covering politics, fashion, popular culture, economics, sex, families, and work--When Everything Changed is the definitive book on five crucial decades of progress. The enormous strides made since 1960 include the advent of the birth control pill, the end of "Help Wanted--Male" and "Help Wanted--Female" ads, and the lifting of quotas for women in admission to medical and law schools. Gail Collins describes what has happened in every realm of women's lives, partly through the testimonies of both those who made history and those who simply made their way.

Picking up where her highly lauded book America's Women left off, When Everything Changed is a dynamic story, told with the down-to-earth, amusing, and agenda-free tone for which this beloved New York Times columnist is known. Older readers, men and women alike, will be startled as they are reminded of what their lives once were--"Father Knows Best" and "My Little Margie" on TV; daily weigh-ins for stewardesses; few female professors; no women in the Boston marathon, in combat zones, or in the police department. Younger readers will see their history in a rich new way. It has been an era packed with drama and dreams--some dashed and others realized beyond anyone's imagining.

My review:

When Everything Changed: The Amazing journey of American Women From 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins is an intense, well documented look at the women's movement. Collins breaks her tome down into three parts with extensive notes as well as an impressive bibliography. Collins masterfully guides the reader through four decades of struggles and triumphs. History should neither be ignored nor forgotten and Collins makes certain neither happen in her novel, as she includes tales of women who against all odds rose up and helped pave the way for others follow. This book was a rather insightful read for me as a woman, wife, mother, and avid history buff. This novel reminds us not to forget those who came before us. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in women's rights, women's studies, social science, or history.

About the Author:

Gail Collins was the Editorial Page Editor for the New York Times from 2001-2007--the first woman to have held that position. She currently writes a column for the Times' Op-Ed page twice weekly.

I received a free copy of When Everything Changed by Gail Collins from Hachette as part of the tour. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Diane said...

I think I'd love to lead this book. Thanks for posting about it.

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Sounds like a good book to read!

~Jennifer~ said...

You've been splashed!!

There is an award waiting for you at my blog: