By Nancy F. Cott
Enriched by the wealth of new research into women's history, No Small Courage offers a lively chronicle of American experience, charting women's lives and experiences with fascinating immediacy from the precolonial era to the present. Individual stories and primary sources-including letters, diaries, and news reports-animate this history of the domestic, professional, and political efforts of American women.
John Demos begins the book with a discussion of Native American women confronting colonization. Leading historians illuminate subsequent eras of social and political change-including Jane Kamensky on women's lives in the colonial period, Karen Manners Smith on the rising tide of political activity by women in the Progressive Era, Sarah Jane Deutsch on the transition of 1920s optimism to the harsh realities of the Great Depression, Elaine Tyler May on the challenges to a gender-defined social order encouraged by World War II, and William H. Chafe on the women's movement and the struggle for political equality since the 1960s. The authors vividly relate such events as Anne Hutchinson's struggle for religious expression in Puritan Massachusetts, former slave Harriet Tubman's perilous efforts to free others in captivity, Rosa Parks's resistance to segregation in the South, and newfound opportunities for professional and personal self-determination available as a result of decades of protest. Dozens of archival illustrations add to the human dimensions of the authoritative text.
No Small Courage dynamically captures the variety and significance of American women's experience, demonstrating that the history of our nation cannot be fully understood without focusing on changes in women's lives.