Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (The Sunday Times Bestseller) (Paperback)
  • Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (The Sunday Times Bestseller) (Paperback)

Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights (The Sunday Times Bestseller) (Paperback)

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Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 04/03/2021
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Waterstones Says

Highlighting numerous fighters for female freedom, the former New Statesman scribe presents a page-turning history of feminism, neatly structured into eleven overarching themes.

A BBC Radio 4 Book of Week

Well-behaved women don't make history: difficult women do.

Helen Lewis argues that feminism's success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women, who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines.

It's time to reclaim the history of feminism as a history of difficult women. In this book, you'll meet the working-class suffragettes who advocated bombings and arson; the princess who discovered why so many women were having bad sex; the pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men's rights activist; the 'striker in a sari' who terrified Margaret Thatcher; the wronged Victorian wife who definitely wasn't sleeping with the prime minister; and the lesbian politician who outraged the country.

Taking the story up to the present with the twenty-first-century campaign for abortion services, Helen Lewis reveals the unvarnished - and unfinished - history of women's rights. Drawing on archival research and interviews, Difficult Women is a funny, fearless and sometimes shocking narrative history, which shows why the feminist movement has succeeded - and what it should do next. The battle is difficult, and we must be difficult too.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784709730
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 255 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 22 mm


'A history of feminism, which celebrates the women who were prepared to pick a fight' - The Sunday Times

'A funny, sparky, wide-ranging collection of powerful personal essays on the gnarly issues that women continue to face, and an authoritative benchmark of modern feminism by a clever, clear-sighted, straight-talking, difficult young woman.' - The Times

'All the history you need to understand why you're so furious, angry and still hopeful about being a woman now.A book that is part intellectual weapon in your handbag, part cocktail with a friend.' - Caitlin Moran

'A great manifesto for all those women who have never been very good at being well-behaved.' - Mary Beard

'This is the antidote to saccharine you-go-girl fluff. Effortlessly erudite and funny, Helen Lewis tackles the great unacknowledged truth of feminist history: no one ever changed the world by being nice. A landmark in modern feminist scholarship, it manages to be important, irreverent and a joy to read.' - Caroline Criado Perez

'Brilliant, from one of the brightest journalists in Britain today. Compulsive, rigorous, unforgettable, hilarious and devastating. Everything but difficult, ironically enough.' - Hadley Freeman

'Some names you will recognise, others will be new. All deserve your respect. In a world where equality still feels like an uphill struggle, it is wonderful to celebrate eleven epic and ultimately victorious battles.' - Anita Anand

'Well-behaved women may not make history but brilliant women certainly write it. Helen Lewis's glorious history of feminists, feminism, and female causes is a rallying cry for women to take up intelligent action and fight - fight for those rights!' - Amanda Foreman

'An extremely important and timely book that shows why sometimes it pays to be a "difficult woman".' - Konnie Huq

'I loved Difficult Women. Helen Lewis writes with a devilish wit and a clear eye about the harder edges of meaningful progress. Engaging, moving, witty and sobering - Difficult women is a book for all humans who value all humans, as difficult as they may be.' - Stephen McGann

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“Much needed and inspiring”

A wonderful insight on great female figures in history and I say great because it covers so many largely unknown and uncovered (in books) women. It’s so interesting and educational even to someone who reads a lot of... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 57

“A worthy read”

Difficult Women looks at the history of Feminism, in particular it's history in the UK, although she does cite examples from around the world. The chapters look at divorce, love, the vote, education, sex, safety,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 55

“A must-read book about feminism”

If you are just to read one book this year, this should be it. Helen Lewis introduces us to some of the women that have made huge contributions to feminism, and who despite all that remain unknown to many. ‘Difficult... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 48

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