Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
This fall's nonfiction releases spotlight women who made history
Reviewed by Robert Faires, Fri., Nov. 28, 2014
Little did Laurel Thatcher Ulrich know when she penned a paper for American Quarterly in 1976 that one line in it would wend its way out of that academic journal and into the culture at large, appearing on bumper stickers, T-shirts, and coffee mugs, and across the Web, attributed to everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Eleanor Roosevelt to Anne Boleyn. But something about her phrase – Well-behaved women seldom make history – was just too concise, too smart, too true, to be confined to scholarly studies. It was meant for the world to hear and absorb and repeat. And its resonance can be felt again in several new nonfiction titles that recount the stories of women who changed the world. Whether they were warriors, writers, fashion designers, suffragists, advocates for women's reproductive rights, star-spangled superheroes, or book editors, they made history, and how they did is worth learning about in more detail. Surely one here would make a perfect gift for the history-making woman or women in your life (or maybe that man who ought to know more history than he does.)