Review: My Own Story ~ Emmeline Pankhurst

my own storyISBN ~ 978-1784870409
Publisher ~ Vintage Classics
No. Of Pages ~352 pages
Links ~ Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Project Gutenberg

The great leader of the women’s suffrage movement, tells the story of her struggles in her own words.

Emmeline Pankhurst grew up all too aware of the prevailing attitude of her day: that men were considered superior to women. When she was just fourteen she attended her first suffrage meeting, and returned home a confirmed suffragist. Throughout the course of her career she endured humiliation, prison, hunger strikes and the repeated frustration of her aims by men in power, but she rose to become a guiding light of the Suffragette movement. This is the story, in Pankhurst’s own words, of her struggle for equality.

3 Thumbs-UpLet me first explain my reasoning behind the three thumb review; I found this book to be a strangely impersonal account of Mrs. Pankhurst’s life.  It read more like a diary of the main events of the WSPU (Suffrage movement) in the lead up to the outbreak of World War I.  This made it extremely difficult for me, as a reader, to get a handle on what she was really like as a person, or the opinions of others of the movement of which she and her sister, Christabel, were such a big part of in England; this in turn had me doing further research at the library and on the internet to fill in the gaps.

Giving an explanation of what propelled her out of the normal role of women in her time, into a political arena is an interesting and eye-opening journey into what it was like to be female in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s, and this was one of things that kept me reading this book.  This book is a snapshot into a turbulent time in British history, and may be an eye opener for those who read it and are not acquainted with the nuances of that time.

One thing I became aware of whilst reading this was the tremendous hardships and deprivations these women went through to secure the vote for women.  They were humiliated, beaten, force-fed and denigrated in a way that not even the worst of criminals were at the time, all because they wanted more control over their lives and things that ultimately affected the way they lived.  This in turn led me to consider the women’s movements today and how they regard the role of women in the twenty-first century; there really is no comparison and it made me grateful for the freedoms I do have as a woman today.

I was disappointed that this book ended with the advent of World War I as I would have felt it would have added to the account if there had been an endnote saying what happened to the WSPU and their campaign for Women’s Rights after the end of the war; this was one part of where my extra research came in.

Despite its short comings this is a good read, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about the origins of feminism and treatment of women in the United Kingdom.

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Review: 41: A Portrait of My Father ~ George W. Bush

41ISBN ~ 978-0553447781
Publisher ~ Crown
No. Of Pages ~ 294 pages
Links ~ Random House, Barnes & Noble, Amazon

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, has authored a personal biography of his father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President.
 
Forty-three men have served as President of the United States. Countless books have been written about them. But never before has a President told the story of his father, another President, through his own eyes and in his own words. A unique and intimate biography, the book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career, including his service in the Pacific during World War II, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business, and his political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President.  The book shines new light on both the accomplished statesman and the warm, decent man known best by his family. In addition, George W. Bush discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his own life, from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency.

4 Thumbs-UpI’m not a political being by any stretch of the imagination, but something about this book just made me want to read it.  It may have been the fact the election of the 43rd President was my first experience of the US voting system, or the plain and simple fact that most books written about those who have held a position of great power, such as the 41 in this book, they are invariably written by someone who didn’t know them on a personal level.

Whether you are a diehard opponent of the Bush Family, or like me lean neither one way nor the other, this is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone.  Within its pages the reader will find not the usual politic rhetoric that is so often the fate of a biography of this nature, but an actual personal look at the life of the 41st President of the United States.

The Author manages to remove the mystic that surrounds his Father by regaling the reader with not only personal stories of a nature known only to a family member, but writes these stories in a loving and caring manner.  The stories contained with the pages of this work are not just limited to ‘41’, but also cover anecdotes about other members of the family, including the daughters of ‘43’ himself.  Written in a manner that I would not have thought possible from this man, the book is full of humour, life and above all laughter and love.

There is a lot in this book that makes it earn a place on any readers’ bookshelves, and I will definitely purchasing a copy for my library.

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