The Woman's Hour

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474612210

Price: £10.99

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Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the “Antis”–women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel’s, and the Bible.

Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman’s Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the American Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.


Elaine Weiss delivers political history at its best ... she writes with verve and color that captures the feverish excitement of a moment when, whatever the outcome, every woman and man packed into Tennessee's imposing statehouse knew that history was about to be made. With a skill reminiscent of Robert Caro, she turns the potentially dry stuff of legislative give-and-take into a drama of courage and cowardice, showing the pain of compromise and the power of substantive debate in an age when rhetoric was still an art and political discourse still aimed to persuade
Wall Street Journal
At the heart of democracy lies the ballot box, and Elaine Weiss's unforgettable book tells the story of the female leaders who - in the face of towering economic, racial, and political opposition - fought for and won American women's right to vote. Unfolding over six weeks in the summer of 1920, The Woman's Hour is both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for everyone, young and old, male and female, in these perilous times. So much could have gone wrong, but these American women would not take no for an answer: their triumph is our legacy to guard and emulate
Hillary Rodham Clinton
A genteel but bare-knuckled political thriller ... the account reads like a reality show, impossible to predict ... Weiss' narrative is energetic and buoyant even at the most critical moments
Ms. Magazine
Riveting ... Weiss provides a multidimensional account of the political crusade ... The result is a vivid work of American history
National Book Review
Weiss does a wonderful job of laying out the background of the American women's suffrage movement ... A lively slice of history filled with political drama, Weiss's book captures a watershed moment for American women
Book Page
Stirring, definitive, and engrossing ... Weiss brings a lucid, lively, journalistic tone to the story ... The Woman's Hour is compulsory reading
Weiss is a clear and genial guide with an ear for telling language ... She also shows a superb sense of detail, and it's the deliciousness of her details that suggests certain individuals warrant entire novels of their own ... Weiss's thoroughness is one of the book's great strengths. So vividly had she depicted events that by the climactic vote (spoiler alert: The amendment was ratified!), I got goose bumps
Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times Book Review
A nonfiction political thriller ... Weiss zeroes in on the final campaign of the suffrage movement
Anyone interested in the history of our country's ongoing fight to put its founding values into practice - as well as those seeking the roots of current political fault lines - would be well-served by picking up Elaine Weiss's The Woman's Hour. By focusing in on the final battle in the war to win women the right to vote, told from the point of view of its foot soldiers, Weiss humanizes both the women working in favor of the amendment and those working against it, exposing all their convictions, tactics, and flaws. She never shies away from the complicating issue of race; the frequent conflict and occasional sabotage that occurred between women's suffrage activists and the leaders of the nascent civil rights movement make for some of the most fascinating material in the book
Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller HIDDEN FIGURES
Imaginatively conceived and vividly written, The Woman's Hour gives us a stirring history of women's long journey to suffrage and to political influence. Making bold connection with race and class, Weiss's splendid book is as much needed today as it was in 1940 when Eleanor Roosevelt noted that men hate women with power. As every victory since the Civil War and Reconstruction faces the wrecker, The Woman's Hour is an inspiration in the continuing struggles for suffrage, and for race and gender justice, and for democracy
Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of the New York Times bestseller ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
Even the most informed feminists will learn a thing or two