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Publisher's Summary

Forty years ago, two women's movements drew a line in the sand between liberals and conservatives. The legacy of that rift is still evident today in American politics and social policies.

Gloria Steinem was quoted in 2015 (The New Yorker) as saying the National Women's Conference in 1977 "may take the prize as the most important event nobody knows about." After the United Nations established International Women's Year (IWY) in 1975, Congress mandated and funded state conferences to elect delegates to attend the National Women's Conference in Houston in 1977. At that conference, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and other feminists adopted a National Plan of Action, endorsing the hot-button issues of abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and gay rights - then a new issue in national politics. Across town, Phyllis Schlafly, Lottie Beth Hobbs, and the conservative women's movement held a massive rally to protest federally funded feminism and launch a pro-family movement.

Although much has been written about the role that social issues have played in politics, little attention has been given to the historical impact of women activists on both sides. Divided We Stand reveals how the battle between feminists and their conservative challengers divided the nation as Democrats continued to support women's rights and Republicans cast themselves as the party of family values.

The women's rights movement and the conservative women's movement have irrevocably affected the course of modern American history. We cannot fully understand the present without appreciating the pivotal events that transpired in Houston and thereafter.

©2017 J. Spruill (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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Useful scholarship, but a poor audio experience

Divided We Stand is timely, well-researched, and makes an excellent resource for feminist scholars. It does not, however, make for a good audiobook. Spruill's narrative is plodding and repetitive, making listening a chore. This is an academic book, published by an academic press, that really has no business being turned into an audiobook. Date and acronym heavy, it does not flow like the narrative histories that are usually given the audiobook treatment. Narrator Dina Pearlman does an admirable job with unforgiving prose, but her game performance is hampered by the material and unacceptably poor sound quality. It sounds as if she was forced to read this in a tin shed, basically, as there is a strange reverberation and hollowness to the recording. It's an important book and Spruill's overarching argument about the ERA debates of the 1970s being a root cause for ongoing national political division is both compelling and perceptive, but I'd recommend bypassing the audiobook and sticking to the printed page for anyone who is interested.