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When everything changed - Gail Collins

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When everything changed - the amazing journey of American women from 1960 to the present
Gail Collins
Little, Brown and Company
UK Publication Date

Gail Collins, New York Times columnist and bestselling author, recounts the astounding revolution in women's lives over the past 50 years, with her usual "sly wit and unfussy style" (People).

When Everything Changed begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands' permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton's historic presidential campaign. This was a time of cataclysmic change, when, after four hundred years, expectations about the lives of American women were smashed in just a generation.

A comprehensive mix of oral history and Gail Collins's keen research -- covering politics, fashion, popular culture, economics, sex, families, and work -- When Everything Changed is the definitive book on five crucial decades of progress. The enormous strides made since 1960 include the advent of the birth control pill, the end of "Help Wanted -- Male" and "Help Wanted -- Female" ads, and the lifting of quotas for women in admission to medical and law schools. Gail Collins describes what has happened in every realm of women's lives, partly through the testimonies of both those who made history and those who simply made their way.

Picking up where her highly lauded book America's Women left off, When Everything Changed is a dynamic story, told with the down-to-earth, amusing, and agenda-free tone for which this beloved New York Times columnist is known.

Older readers, men and women alike, will be startled as they are reminded of what their lives once were -- Father Knows Best and My Little Margie on TV; daily weigh-ins for stewardesses; few female professors; no women in the Boston marathon, in combat zones, or in the police department. Younger readers will see their history in a rich new way. It has been an era packed with drama and dreams -- some dashed and others realized beyond anyone's imagining.

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Gail Collins is a columnist for the New York Times. From 2001-2007 she was editorial page editor of the paper -- the first woman to have held that position.

"Gail Collins's When Everything Changed points out what the women on "Mad Men" know: that period in our history was less enjoyable for the ladies.... The early pages of Ms. Collins's book are peppered with accounts of incidents so outrageous they almost seem like jokes....but Ms. Collins underlines the serious consequences of such risible moments by including the stories of individual women-from overworked housewives to marginalized politicians-whose lives were cramped and deformed by the culture's low opinion of their capabilities.... Ms. Collins reminds us of how many aspects of our lives were affected by the battles these women fought. And even readers who lived through this era may be surprised to discover how much they never knew, or have forgotten...Among the impressive features of Ms. Collins's book is her genial, fair-minded sympathy, her refusal to smirk at the excesses of the most radical '70s feminists or at the stance of women, among them Phyllis Schlafly, who counseled their sisters to stay home where they belonged. This evenhandedness seems all the more admirable later in the book, when she considers the significance of Hillary Rodham Clinton's and Sarah Palin's roles in the 2008 presidential election."-Francine Prose, New York Times

"Did feminism fail? Gail Collins's smart, thorough, often droll and extremely readable account of women's recent history in America not only answers this question brilliantly, but also poses new ones about the past and the present. . . .
Collins . . .begins When Everything Changed with the best summary of American women's social and political history that I've read. . . .One of the many pleasures {here} is that Collins also reminds us of what women did in private."-Amy Bloom, The New York Times Book Review

"What better time to look at American women's progress since the '60s, now that the dust has settled on the 2008 presidential election when so much was won (and lost) by women?... Gail Collins's near epic history When Everything Changed...also captures the playfulness and humor in women's advancement."-Elizabeth Toohey, The Christian Science Monitor

"'The past is a foreign country' is the kind of hallowed quotation that's resolutely opaque until you stumble on something that drives home its emotional truth. The uncanny feeling it references is that one that recurs frequently as you read When Everything Changed, the absorbing history of feminism and American women's lives by Gail Collins, the resident editorial fount of wry Midwestern common sense at The New York Times.... What Collins does, which so pitiably few pop-history writers do, is bring the stories, the anecdotes that come to life and pull you in."-Ben Dickinson, Elle

"This is not only a fascinating record of how far women have come, it is also a missive to a new generation of women, reminding them to keep the faith."
-Katherine Boyle, Booklist

"Fascinating...This story of how ideas that were once the norm began to seem unfair and then absurd is what Gail Collins tells in her lively new book. Until now, the second wave women's movement hasn't had its big ambitious history-the equivalent to Taylor Branch's multivolume narrative of the civil rights movement. There have been brilliant memoirs and revealing biographies and scholarly books that took slices of the movement and put them under a magnifying glass, but nothing as sweeping and accessible as this."
-Margaret Talbot,'s "Double X"

"A lively account...Collins uses her great sense of revealing anecdote, engaging personalities, representative case histories, resonant stories, and startling details to defamiliarize a decade we thought we remembered, and to show how truly far American women have come in every aspect of their lives.... Collins's message is inspiring and timely, and all the techniques she employs to make this book fun to read--and impossible to deny--deserve critical praise as well as popular success."
-Elaine Showalter, Progressive Book Club

Keyword Index
Women - United States - History - 20th century.|Women - Social conditions - 20th century.
Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages

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