New Books Network

Virginia Scharff, “The Women Jefferson Loved” (HarperCollins, 2010)
Most Americans could tell you who George Washington’s wife was. (Martha, right?) Most Americans probably couldn’t tell you who Thomas Jefferson’s wife was. (It was also Martha, but a different one of course). They might be able to tell you, however, who Thomas Jefferson’s alleged concubine was, as she has... Read More
Elaine Tyler May, “America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation” (Basic Books, 2010)
Don’t you find it a bit curious that there are literally thousands of pills that we in the developed world take on a daily basis, but only one of them is called “the Pill?” Actually, you probably don’t find it curious, because you know that the pill has had a... Read More
Sarah Ross, “The Birth of Feminism: Woman as Intellect in Renaissance Italy and England” (Harvard UP, 2009)
I’ll be honest: I have a Ph.D. in early modern European history from a big university you’ve probably heard of and I couldn’t name a single female writer of the Renaissance before I read Sarah Ross’s new book The Birth of Feminism. Woman as Intellect in Renaissance Italy and England... Read More
Sally G. McMillen, “Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement” (Oxford, 2008)
Think of this. From the origins of civilization roughly 5000 years ago to around 1900 AD, the condition of women did not fundamentally change. They weren’t “second class citizens.” Rather, they weren’t citizens at all. They were under the nearly complete control of, first, their fathers and, after marriage, their... Read More
Kristin Celello, “Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the 20th-Century U.S.” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)
When did Americans begin to think of marriage as “work,” as in, “If you want your marriage to succeed, you have to work at it.” Kristin Celello answers this question (and a lot of others) in her timely and relevant new book Making Marriage Work. A History of Marriage and... Read More
Vicki Ruiz, “From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America” (Oxford UP, 2008)
There was a time when “history” was the history of powerful people. Shakespeare captures this notion of history in the prologue to Henry V: O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold... Read More
Katherine Jellison, “It’s Our Day: America’s Love Affair with the White Wedding” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
If you ask me, the “white wedding” is the oddest thing. I’m a modern guy and my wife is a modern woman. We’re feminists. We have an equal partnership. But when it came to getting married we both agreed that I would play the role of Prince Charming and she... Read More
Katy Turton, “Forgotten Lives: The Role of Lenin’s Sisters in the Russian Revolution, 1864-1937” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2007)
A number of years ago I read Robert Service’s excellent biography of Lenin and came away thinking “We don’t really know enough about the women who surrounded Lenin throughout his life.” Katy Turton, a lecturer in modern European history at Queen’s University Belfast, has fixed that. Her Forgotten Lives: The... Read More
Kimberly Jensen, “Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War” (University of Illinois Press, 2008)
Today we have Professor Kimberly Jensen on the show. She teaches in the Department of History and in the Gender Studies Program at Western Oregon University. We’ll be talking with Kim today about her new book Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War (University of Illinois Press, 2008).... Read More
Matt Wasniewski, “Women in Congress, 1917-2006” (U.S. House of Representatives, 2007)
This week we talk to Matt Wasniewski. Matt is the historian and publications manager in the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. He earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2004. In this interview we talk to Matt about Women... Read More