What more could you ask for than a story interlacing spiritualism, suffrage, and sex?! Goldsmith masterfully tells us the story of Victoria Woodhull. Gone is the need to present a pristine sugary view of a woman who lived from 1838 to 1927. I laughed at times thinking - wow! I bet this gal turned some people on their head! LOL Goldsmith is such a good writer, in her introduction she described some of the surprises she noticed as she researched this book. For example, "Perhaps the most startling discovery was the extent to which spiritualism and the inception of woman's rights were intertwined" (p. xiii).
In describing Woodhull, Goldsmith noted: "[she] pictured herself as 'the evangel' but she was, in fact, a woman before her time. Her views on marriage and divorce and the sexual equality she called 'free love' are relevant today" (p. xv). Later Woodhull was described as "She was. . . the spirituality, the 'high priestess' of free love, the crusading editor, the...
Barbara Goldsmith opens the portal to transform you into the Nineteenth century and exposes in entertaining detail the plight of women in Victorian America. This book impressed me so much that I found myself writing an fictionalized account of Victoria Woodhull's life. Ms. Goldsmith, you kindled a fire that has grown into a roaring flame. I had to buy a second hardback edition of your book, as my paperback was so marked up and torn apart, I have to keep a rubber band around it! Thank you for your inspiration.
I never particularly like American History as it was taught when I was growing up (memorizing lots of names of men, battles, and dates) - it was boring and didn't make a lot of sense to me. But this book brought that whole period of the 1800s alive because it's dealing with what drives history - the kind of spirituality and inquiry that flooded the country then, with women's lives and their push for equality, as well as nitty gritty information on the intertwining of the lives of power players at that time. Who knew there were so many politicians consulting mediums, or the degree of sexual and utopian-living experimentation going on. It's clear to me that the 1960s-70s were a resonant echo of what was begun then. So well written.
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