I really don’t enjoy writing negative reviews. I tend to be somewhat picky about what I read, so I tend to like a lot of the books I read. However, you never really know until you’re actually reading it. I got Gilded Suffragists as a free giveaway on Goodreads, so hey, at least I didn’t spend a lot of money on it. However, I was very interested in the subject. I’m fascinated by the early 20th Century and the sea-change of social and political changes that were happening. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I came out of Johanna Neuman’s book especially enlightened. In some ways, I am maybe a bit more confused.
I was reminded of another book on a subject I was very interested in, The Ornament of the World. Like that book, Gilded Suffragists is a jumbled mess of information that feels impossible to sift through. I described reading it as feeling like trying to follow a particularly manic Robin Williams ad libbing session. In a single paragraph, we might be taken to the early 1910s, the mid 1880s, the turn of the 20th Century, and back again. We’d be introduced to someone, then their child, then their cousin, then their rival, then their rival’s child, then their child’s rival, and so on, and so on. Yet, at no time are we given enough sense of time or place or person to learn much about anyone.
It really is an interesting subject, and there were enough little bits floating around that I feel like I have some people and places to research further. But if you’re interested in this, I’d suggest you look somewhere else.