To Believe in Women
What Lesbians Have Done for America - A History
By Lillian Faderman
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780395850107, 434pp.)
Publication Date: June 1999
List Price: $30.00*
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From the author of the acclaimed Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, a landmark work of lesbian history that both "sets the record straight (or unstraight)" for all Americans and "provides a usable past" for lesbians "This is a book about how millions of American women became what they are now: full citizens, educated, and capable of earning a decent living for themselves. But it departs from other such histories because it focuses on how certain late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women whose lives can be described as 'lesbian' were in the forefront of the battle to procure the rights and privileges that large numbers of Americans enjoy today." A groundbreaking reappraisal of those women known by history but whose histories are incomplete, To Believe in Women examines how their lesbianism may in fact have facilitated their accomplishments. Lillian Faderman, twice winner of the Lambda Award, persuasively argues that even before a "lesbian identity" was defined, many early female leaders had what would now be called lesbian relationships, free from the constraints of traditional heterosexual arrangements that might otherwise have impeded their pursuits in education, politics, and culture. A book of impeccable research and compelling readability, To Believe in Women will be a source of enlightenment for all, and for many a singular source of pride.
"For those who need a dose of pride and a slice of history, Faderman's portraits should strike a popular note. 'To Believe in Women' is a decent starting point for learning about these pioneers and their contributions to American life." -- reviewed by Karla Jay The New York Times
"This book will raise eyebows and consciousness." -- Dianne Wood Middlebrook