Race, Ethnicity, Gender & Class

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Race, Ethnicity, Gender & Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change by Joseph F. Healey and Eileen O’Brien

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 412

Publication Date: 2015

Summary: This book explores the history of immigration to the United States and the roles that various minority groups have played in American society.  Topics covered include African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Gender, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Americans, Diversity and Prejudice and Discrimination.

Recommended: No.  Although the content was interesting, the book was not laid out well.  Some minority groups were given much more thorough coverage than others and the authors often repeated information several times throughout the course of the book.

If You’re Offended: No problems here

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Since the Indian Removal Act of 1830, American Indians have been concentrated in the western two thirds of the nation, although some pockets of population still can be found in the East. The states with the largest concentrations of American Indians are California, Oklahoma, and Arizona.”    “Most Latinos who speak predominantly Spanish are first generation, while most who speak predominantly English are third generation. The second generation is most likely to be bilingual.”

Black Elk Speaks as told to John G. Neihardt

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Genre: Autobiography/History

Page Count: 334

Publication Date: Originally 1932 but revised 2008

Summary: Black Elk, a Lakota warrior and medicine man, shares the visions that he experienced that predicted the destruction of his people’s culture and way of life.  He recounts the history he lived through as Wasichus (white men) forced the Native Americans to fight for their land and eventually move onto reservations.

Recommended: Yes!  I really enjoyed this book and felt it to be both incredibly powerful and sad.  However, many of my friends who have read this book said that they found it hard to understand and cumbersome to get through.  I think I had a leg up on them for at least two reasons: I have previously read Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz and so I already knew a lot of the history that the book talks about AND I read the premier edition of Black Elk Speaks, which included helpful side notes and authentic drawings.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Dead men and horses and wounded Indians were scattered all the way up the hill, and their blood was frozen, for a storm had come up and it was very cold and getting colder all the time.”     “I went on helping the sick, and there were many, for the measles had come among the people who were already weak because of hunger. There were more sick people that winter when the whooping cough came and killed little children who did not have enough to eat.”

No Turning Back by Estelle B Freedman

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Title: No Turning Back – The History of Feminism and The Future of Women

Genre: History

Page Count: 446

Publication Date: 2002

Summary: This book gives an in-depth look at the history of feminism throughout the world. It explores women’s roles throughout time and place as well as the reasons for those roles. It talks about how what is considered proper for a woman has changed over the years and what has caused those changes. Some of the broad topics covered include motherhood, education, and the role of the female body.

Recommended: YES! It can be a bit cumbersome (I would say this book was written to be a college textbook) but the information in it is genuinely interesting.  It does a good job of looking at the history of women all over the world. The book concludes with a thorough index so you can read the entire book or just what interests you.

If You’re Offended: Some controversial topics covered include: prostitution, sexuality, rape, and abortion.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “From 1500 to 1800 four times more women than men were persecuted as witches, with estimates of those killed ranging from a hundred thousand to more than a million.”    “Feminism cannot deny the significance of gender in a world in which 70 percent of those living in poverty and two-thirds of those who are illiterate are female.”