The struggles of women

Kate Walbert, 2004 National Book Award nominee for Our Kind has written a new book, A Short History of Women which describes the changes in womens' status through the lives of her characters. Beginning with Dorothy Townsend, an English suffragist who died because of her self-imposed hunger strike, Walbert moves back and forth through time, describing her descendents' lives. Her daughter, Evelyn, comes to America and becomes a prominent chemist. In the new millenium, her niece, another Dorothy, continues the tradition of protest by being arrested while photographing an off-limits military base. And her daughters react to a bland, bourgeois existence with anxiety. A chronicler of the progress of women, Walbert leaves us with questions and admiration for her literary skills.