It has taken me a year to read this immense book. It is intense, phenomenally written, inspiring and heartbreaking. As a female reader, I am in awe of what the women in this book overcame and achieved and astonished at how far we still have to journey!

‘“As First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird”Johnson said, “The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.””

– Fearless Women, Elizabeth Cobbs

From an American-centric viewpoint, the lives of sixteen women from across the centuries are highlighted. Some are famous, some not, all with lessons to share and amazing courage. Elizabeth Cobbs tells these stories in a relatable and easy to connect with way, it’s not a history lesson that is dry and unfeeling, quite the opposite.

The epilogue closes with “As one historian wisely points out, improvement is always “raggedy,” with no unsullied victories. Yet history also allows observers to stand far back enough from the mess to see its hopeful contours. From a distance of nearly three centuries, the positive changes are extraordinary. No one should be shocked that the country has failed to fully realize its goals of liberty and justice for all. It would be more shocking if it had. The past shows that progress is a long slog, but also a worthwhile one.”

It’s a five out of five on the enJOY scale and highly recommended.

From the back cover:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Hello Girls shows that the quest for women’s rights is deeply entwined with the founding story of the United States.

When America became a nation, a woman had no legal existence beyond her husband. If he abused her, she couldn’t leave without abandoning her children. Abigail Adams tried to change this, reminding her husband John to “remember the ladies” when he wrote the Constitution. He simply laughed—and women have been fighting for their rights ever since. 

Fearless Women tells the story of sixteen women who dared to take destiny into their own hands. They were feminists and antifeminists, activists and homemakers, victims of abuse and pathbreaking professionals. Inspired by the nation’s ideals and fueled by an unshakeable sense of right and wrong, they wouldn’t take no for an answer. In time, they carried the country with them.

The first right they won was the right to learn. Later, impassioned teachers like Angelica Grimké and Susan B. Anthony campaigned for the right to speak in public, lobby the government, and own property. Some were passionate abolitionists. Others fought just to protect their own children. 

Many of these women devoted their lives to the cause– some are famous– but most pressed their demands far from the spotlight, insisting on their right to vote, sit on a jury, control the timing of their pregnancies, enjoy equal partnerships, or earn a living. At every step, they faced fierce opposition. Elizabeth Cobbs gives voice to fearless women on both sides of the aisle, most of whom considered themselves patriots. Rich and poor, from all backgrounds and regions, Fearless Women shows that the women’s movement has never been an exclusive club.

 Elizabeth Cobbs holds the Melbern Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M University. A prizewinning historian, novelist, and documentary filmmaker, she is the author of The Hello GirlsAmerican UmpireThe Hamilton Affair (a New York Times bestseller), and The Tubman Command.

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