A review by aimiller
Women's Liberation!: Feminist Writings That Inspired a Revolution & Still Can, by

informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

4.0

This book is a great collection of feminist writing but of course it's also much more than that; it's also an attempt to reclaim and to some extent rehabilitate second wave feminism from charges about how white and disconnected from working class women the "movement" was. (Movement in quote marks to delineate the idea of a single movement.) I would say it's a compelling argument, and definitely raises some questions about how we mark off movements of feminism, though I'm not sure it's necessarily always useful to take these different concerns and mark them all as "second wave." 

My primary Big Beef is the way the text draws a line between "academic feminism" and "regular" feminism, as if many of the pieces in the book--including the writings of Audre Lorde--were not produced for academic conferences. The lines between academic and non-academic are not as neatly drawn as this book might suggest, and I'm not sure who they were intending to exclude--Judith Butler? Joan Scott? (neither of whom I would say were second wave necessarily, and in fact responding to some of the claims that "regular" second wave feminists were making.) 

A smaller beef is with some of the explanatory text--which overall I did deeply appreciate, but occasionally important terms like "Third World Woman" were badly contextualized (in that case, stripping the term of any anti-colonial commitments.) 

Overall though, my personal nitpicking aside, I think this collection is actually very useful and does make a compelling argument for reexamining our assumptions about what constitutes the "second wave." I think especially for teaching, this collection is really really helpful, and I am glad I read it (and have already used it greatly for finding things for high school students and others to read!)