Book info

In Our Time: Memoir Of A Revolution (1999)

In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (1999)
Rating
3.85 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0385314868 (ISBN13: 9780385314862)
languge
English
genre
publisher
the dial press
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In Our Time: Memoir Of A Revolution (...
In Our Time: Memoir Of A Revolution (1999)

About book: i remember the first time i read this book, which was shortly after it was released (2003-ish?), i really, really loved it. you know, due to my whole fascination with feminist-y memoirs from the era of the 1960s. i mean, in that respect, it's like this book was tailor-made to satisfy my interests. susan brownmiller was heavily involved in the second wave of the feminist movement. she wrote against our will, one of the first major feminist works about rape, & helped bring awareness to the issue of sexual harrassment. she was involved with consciousness-raising groups back in the day, & went on to participate in feminist newspeper collectives & an organization that gave tour of times square in new york in order to shed light on the evils of the sex industry. & this is where susan & i part ways upon my second reading. i am hopeful that i was critical of the whole sex-industry-is-bad thing the first time i read the book, since there's never been a time in my life when i was whole-heartedly opposed to the sex industry. i mean, growing up, a lot of my mom's friends were sex workers, so i had a little window into the reality of the situation, besides just reading books or whatever. but for some reason, i didn't remember all this anti-sex work stuff. i guess i was just so excited by some of the other stories in here, like the account of the miss america protest, & susan's experiences breaking through the glass ceiling as a reporter (or trying, anyway) & all the dishy gossippy insider second-wave info that i forget about the whole times square part. not so surprisingly, considering the deviations between second-wave credo & my personal conception of feminist politics, there was a lot in here i didn't agree with. & as much as i love a little gossip when it comes to political movements, there is a fine line between political disagreement & just straight up cutting other women down for the sake of cutting other women down, & i think susan crosses the line every now & again. jealousy kills girls, susan! although, as susan became well-known as a voice of 1970s feminism because of her ability to provide quote-able responses to reporter questions, other feminist turned on her & it all sounded pretty nightmare-ish (& something i can TOTALLY RELATE TO, for real), so i guess susan is all too aware that jealousy kills girls. this book is actually totally worth a read, just for the whole famous-activist-spurned-by-movement dynamic. fascinating shit, right there.

I had trouble with the very beginning of Brownmiller's memoir. But I have to say I'm glad I stuck with it. Brownmiller's work is an essential read for any young feminist or person wanting to understand 2nd wave Women's Movement in the 1960's and 70's. She paints a world I never grew up in--a world without access to birth control, abortion rights, protection from sexual harassment or sexual expression, rape crisis centers, or job opportunities for women that existed beyond teacher or secretary. It is an enlightening read, which has allowed me to appreciate what all those women during that time worked for. Their sacrifices have enabled the women of my generation to lead full independent lives, legally protected, and without question.I think a good read after Brownmiller's book is Gail Collins' "1960 When Everything Changed." Her information flows a bit more smoothly and she references a lot of the women that Brownmiller discusses. Collins also does a bit more pre-60's history with her discussion on Alice Paul and also Martha Griffiths..well worth the read.
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Reviews
Dave
A narrative description of the 2nd wave feminist movement (roughly the '60s and '70s), from the perspective of a prominent white feminist. There are almost certainly gaps in what this book can provide, but it was potent, especially when Brownmiller was discussing the early days before too much structure jumped into the mix. Above all, Brownmiller is able to weave subtle themes throughout the book about some of the challenges that the movement faced; a distrust of acknowledgement being a major one. As a historical review, I found it really helpful in contextualizing my own feminist work.
AJ
A very comprehensive memoir detailing the second wave of feminism, from its radical start protesting the 1968 Miss America pageant to its demise in the 1980s due to infighting and clashing ideologies.The book was surprisingly easy to follow, even though it covered many events and discussed hundreds of individual women (and some men) who helped change the course of history.Topics include abortion rights, lesbianism, rape, sexual harassment, pornography and gender discrimination, among many others. Today's women certainly have the women in this book to thank for our access to abortion services, rape hotlines and battered womens shelters; our ability to prosecute rapists, sue co-workers or bosses who try to use sexual advances to keep us "in our place", and also to sue against employers who practice gender discrimination. All of these things were practically unheard of in the early 1960s to 1970s, before feminism brought them to light.
Laura Tanenbaum
Brownmiller's book is less a memoir as most people use the term than an historical account of the movement to which she devoted her life. The book offers a lot of fascinating information and detail about feminist activism of the 60s and 70s, especially how writers, journalists and those within the media became activists because of the movement they were writing about. Brownmiller defends her own positions against pornography and legal prostitution that many feminists will now take issue with without really exploring, and her descriptions of feminists debates may feel a bit inside baseball to readers not already familiar with the players, but the book is overall an important and valuable document.
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