Critique of Voices of American Women

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Book Review
Voices of American Women (English version)
by Grupo Antares de Estudios de Género
(Contributing authors: María Luz Arroyo Vázquez, Nieves de Mingo Izquierdo, Pilar Muñoz López, María del Rosario Piqueras Fraile, Antonia Sagredo Santos y María Eugenia Sánchez Suárez) Translated by Nieves de Mingo Izquierdo and Roger Orr

Edited by Nieves de Mingo Izquierdo
291 pp./ Sepha Edición y diseño
Original (Spanish) version: April 2010
English version: October 2011
Publisher’s price: €19.00

Six Spanish women, all academics, with a total of 10 university degrees between them (including 5 PhDs), have joined forces to write about 21 American women from different walks of life, different times and different backgrounds, who have played significant roles in the building of the United States. Ostensibly written to “deepen [sic] and reflect on the role of these women”, the book brings together twenty-one short summaries of the chosen women’s lives, accompanied by almost impossibly unattractive portraits of the subjects, in what borders on being a complete waste of paper, time, money and effort. The stories themselves, and the women about whom they are written, are fascinating, and reflect a feminine side of America’s history which is all too often ignored in the traditionally male-dominated world of academic historical writing. It is this fact which saves the book from absolute ignominy. Some of the women discussed in the volume, like Edmonia Lewis, or Blanche Calloway, cannot be considered household names in the world at large, despite their significant contributions to American culture and society, and this collective work does serve to raise the reader’s awareness of their lives and deeds, as well as giving readers brief overviews of more widely celebrated personalities such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Nina Simone. One could perhaps liken the work to a (rather bland) hors d’oevre, designed to whet our appetite for more substantial information about...
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