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Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York

by: Marge Piercy

Publisher: William Morrow (2005)


Staff Pick by comrade: AK

'Sex Wars' examines the struggle for women's suffrage right after the Civil War when so many activists were focused on getting the vote for African Americans, and the Women's Movement was often put on the back burner. Post Civil War New York through the eyes of several feisty women.

Post?Civil War New York City is the battleground of the American dream. In this era of free love, emerging rights of women, and brutal sexual repression, Freydeh, a spirited young Jewish immigrant, toils at different jobs to earn passage to America for her family. Learning that her younger sister is adrift somewhere in the city, she begins a determined search that carries her from tenement to brothel to prison�as her story interweaves with those of some of the epoch’s most notorious figures: Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; sexual freedom activist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president; and Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, whose censorship laws are still on the books. In the tradition of her bestselling World War II epic Gone to Soldiers, Marge Piercy once again re-creates a turbulent period in American history and explores changing attitudes in a land of sacrifice, suffering, promise, and reward.