Category Social Reformers

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

Product DetailsThe Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe
By Elaine Showalter
Simon and Schuster
Retail Price:  $28.00
Amazon Price: $18.78

Book Description:  The first full biography of Julia Ward Howe—the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and an early and powerful feminist pioneer—a groundbreaking figure in the abolitionist and suffrage movements.

Julia Ward (1819–1910) was a heiress and aspiring poet when she married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, an internationally-acclaimed pioneer in the education of the blind. Together the Howes knew many of the key figures of their era, from Charles Dickens to John Brown. But he also wasted her inheritance, isolated and discouraged her, and opposed her literary ambitions. Julia persisted, and continued to publish poems and plays while raising six children.

Authorship of the Battle Hymn of the Republic made her celebrated and revered. But Julia was also continuing to fight a civil war at home; she became a pacifist, suffragist, and world traveler. She came into her own as a tireless campaigner for women’s rights and social reform. Esteemed author Elaine Showalter tells the story of Howe’s determined self-creation and brings to life the society she inhabited and the obstacles she overcame.

Review

This is an excellent biography of Julia Ward Howe.  In case you are unsure of who Ms. Howe is, she is the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which first appeared in the February, 1862, issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine and was considered by many as the Civil War’s battle song of the Republic.   While this hymn was her claim to fame, Ms. Showalter gives us a complete look at Howe’s life from birth in 1819 to her spiritual re-birth and her death in 1910.  The book covers her early years and young adult years well, but goes more in depth regarding her courtship with Samuel Howe and her married life.  Julia really came into her own in midlife and beyond, where she laid the foundations for her legacy of civil rights support.   She was really an amazing woman who was a was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet.   This book gives you an intimate glimpse into her life and work. It is a must read for all you lovers of women’s history!

 

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    The Wrong Enemy

    The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014The Wrong Enemy
    By Carlotta Gall
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Retail Price:  $28.00
    Amazon Price:  15.12

    Book Description:  Carlotta Gall has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation, beginning shortly after 9/11. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people, and how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous government and intelligence forces. Now that American troops are withdrawing, it is time to tell the full history of how we have been fighting the wrong enemy, in the wrong country.Gall combines searing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with moving portraits of the ordinary Afghanis who endured a terrible war of more than a decade. Her firsthand accounts of Taliban warlords, Pakistani intelligence thugs, American generals, Afghani politicians, and the many innocents who were caught up in this long war are riveting.  Her evidence that Pakistan fueled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden is revelatory. This is a sweeping account of a war brought by well-intentioned American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage.

    Review

    This book is really about history in the making.  I am posting it on History’s Women, because I believe that  the author, Carlotta Gall, a journalist stationed in Afghanistan for nearly14 years, is a courageous women who is speaking the truth, even if it is difficult to hear.  She is a reformer at heart and is using her experiences in Afghanistan to help us understand what truly when on across the globe during the 13 years of war.

    Reading this book is like watching a documentary film on the area and the people.  She writes in such a way that you feel as if you are walking the dusty roads with her.  Gall helps us face the hard facts of the war in Afghansitan including divulging shocking evidence that doesn’t put the U.S. Government in the best light.  I give her credit for having the courage to tell it like she saw it, no holds-barred.  This book will shock you, enlighten you, and give you compassion for our soldiers who were fighting a war so far from home for so many years.

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