Monday, February 24, 2020

A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage by Christina Wolbrecht

I rate books in a weird way and sometimes that makes people mad at me because they either don't understand (or choose not to understand) my rating system. When I rate a book, I am rating it solely on how much it entertained or interested me-- not on literary merit, not on educational merit, not on brownie points merit. No matter what the book's intentions, if I was bored while reading it, it's going to get a low rating. The end.

So even though, as a textbook or research item, this book probably gets a 4*, for me, the person reading it hoping to be engaged or entertained, it gets a 2*. I really liked the introduction, which is an overview to suffrage and the voting patterns of women. I liked that the author doesn't shy away from discussing the racism of the early suffragettes, and the discrimination to prevent AA voters and AA women from voting. I also like how, even though she goes over some of the trends of women voters vs. men, she issues the caveat not to treat men as the "norm" or women as a "voting bloc." Both good pieces of advice.

This book is divided up by different eras and in each book she talks about some of the key moments happening in that moment of time to give you the zeitgeist, before showing lots of graphs identifying trends by state, gender, and socioeconomic factors. Each result about the women voters is broken down into subgroups with a reminder that women aren't a voting bloc. It got a little old after a while, with the same format repeated so many times, which is why I think this fails as a pleasure read even though it might be a win for someone in political science or women studies. As a tool for writing term papers, this book is rich in data for the desperate undergrad to mine.

A CENTURY OF VOTES has interesting data but sadly it just wasn't very interesting in the way that said data was presented. I really wish it had done more to be passionate and excited about its subject matter because sadly, I found this book about suffragettes to be rather... insufferable.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   

2 out of 5 stars

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