Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2020. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250244574.
Gr 9 Up–Conkling’s biography describes the life of feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Steinem’s unconventional childhood allowed her to view traditional gender roles in Western society through a different lens. By the time she was in college in the 1950s, Steinem realized she didn’t want to be known as just someone’s wife or mother, but as a complex individual. She became one of the leaders in the second wave of feminism; she continues to fight for civil rights today. With an easy-to-read narrative style, Conkling provides context to Steinem’s desire for women to have the power to make their own choices. Readers will find Conkling’s portrayal of Steinem to be authentic and relevant as she fights for equality for women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and marginalized groups. Some of the traumas described (pet death, abortion, rape) could be unsettling for some readers. Though the chapters about Ms. magazine feel slow at times, Steinem’s life is fascinating until the last page. Back matter includes details of the Ms. Foundation, a time line, “Partners in Justice,” a glossary of feminists, a bibliography, and comprehensive source notes.
VERDICT An enlightening, high-quality narrative history of a woman and her work as a leader of American feminism. Recommended for fans of Conkling’s Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space by Libby Jackson.

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