Monday, July 15, 2019

Dear Great Book Guru, This September, the Sea Cliff Civic Association is planning to celebrate the passage of the 19th amendment - the amendment that ensured women’s right to vote. In preparation, my book club would like to read a book that tells the story of that exciting time. Any suggestions?                     Keen on the Suffragists

Dear Keen on the Suffragists, I have just the book for you: THE WOMAN’S HOUR by Elaine Weiss. Weiss focuses on the final battle in the seventy plus-year struggle to win women the right to vote. This spirited tale which reads like a political thriller opens in July 1920 as the friends and foes of the suffragist movement gather in Nashville, Tennessee.  Only one more state is needed to ratify the amendment, and several states have flatly rejected it - Tennessee could go either way.  Weiss focuses on three major players: Carrie Chapman Catt - a gifted, aristocratic strategist; Sue White - a militant native Tennessean who scorns the genteel ways of Catt; and Josephine Pearson - a staunch advocate of states rights and female domesticity.  All three and their supporters gather in the luxurious Hermitage Hotel where lobbyists, legislators, and politicians vie for crucial votes. Anti-prohibitionists ply lawmakers in “Jack Daniel” suites and railroad tycoons whisper loudly that a woman’s vote is a vote for those ‘Bolshevik’ unions.  Above all, race is on the minds of everyone.  As the final vote is taken, Weiss records the cheers and tears and a surprising climax. An amazing story vividly told…. highly recommended! 

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