Reviews of Fighting Words:
Advance praise for Fighting Words:
“What induced a generation of brilliant young writers to report to the United States from the farthest reaches of a war-torn world? In Fighting Words, the peerless historian Nancy F. Cott recovers the sense of adventure, and, equally, of responsibility, that drove some of the most talented journalists of their generation to cover the rise of authoritarianism. In between the wars, an era uncannily like our own, they explained the world to Americans, and Americans to the world.”
--Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States
“A gripping tale of the fiercely bright, ambitious, and romantic young Americans who set the US newspaper world ablaze in the 1920s and 1930s with their eyewitness reports on fascism, war, and revolution. Nancy Cott brilliantly explores political passion, journalistic bravery, love and betrayal, the anguish of repressed sexuality, and the consequences of speaking truth to power. A triumph of historical writing.”
--Gary Gerstle, author of Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Revolution to the Present
“This study of four illustrious, intrepid journalists and foreign correspondents reads like a gripping novel, rife with world-wide adventure, uncommon courage, complicated personal relationships, vices, generosities, and transgressive sexual affairs. At the same time, it provides an insider view of the most consequential events of the 1920s and 1930s--the Chinese revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, Zionism, the rise of fascism and, not least, the technological transformation of journalism. It’s a page-turner, showing how the personal and the political intersect, illuminating how the world changed so drastically in these decades.”
--Linda Gordon, author of The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition
“Fighting Words offers a thrilling rewriting of the Lost Generation narrative: American men and women who went in search of meaning and found it in journalistic encounters around the world. Cott's subjects approached the decades after World War I with curiosity rather than fear, engagement rather than retreat. Together, they helped to teach the American public how to think about the vital and harrowing events of the interwar years. This beautifully written book allows us to see that history unfold through their eyes.”
--Beverly Gage, author of The Day Wall Street Exploded
“The golden age of American foreign correspondence was the years between the World Wars. Reporters had freedom to see and report (Americans were liked overseas then); many acquired years of experience doing so. Nancy Cott gives us vivid portraits of four of the best. Their stories are a reminder why we need independent eyes and ears abroad.”
--John Maxwell Hamilton, Professor at Louisiana State University, and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center for Journalists
Excerpts from reviews of Nancy Cott’s previous books:
Brief excerpts from reviews of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Harvard UP, 2000).
“[Cott’s] incisive illumination and readable analysis of the weight of history will help both scholars and activists who wish to understand and help shape the future of marriage and family life.”—E. Kay Trimberger, Women’s Review of Books.
“Fascinating study . . . presented in a clear, chronological fashion, this work provides a wealth of thought-provoking information. Highly recommended.” Library Journal.
“Cott’s cool, intelligent overview is . . . always absorbing.” Booklist.
“[I]ncisive and often surprising look at the history of marriage.”—Caryl Rivers, Boston Sunday Globe.
“Public Vows provides a fascinating lens through which to view our history.” Kay Hymanowitz, Commentary Magazine
“This original, compelling study . . .a delight to read . . confirms Cott’s deserved reputation as a historian and a writer.” Kirsten Wood, Law and History Review.
Brief excerpts from reviews of A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard Through Her Letters (Yale UP, 1991).
“Of great relevance to contemporary feminists . . . and invaluable to scholars of the period.” Linda Gordon, Women’s Review of Books
“Fascinating, providing invaluable insights into some of the most critical moments in twentieth-century U.S. women’s history.” Choice
“No brief review can do more than hint at the numerous leads, insights, puzzles and revelations which emerge from this book, made possible by Nancy Cott’s ingenuity . . . Cott’s provocative introduction raises central questions. . “ Anne Firor Scott, Journal of American History
Brief excerpts from reviews of The Grounding of Modern Feminism (Yale UP, 1987).
“An engaging and intelligent book packed with fascinating details, new information and wonderfully pointed quotations. Cott also offer a profoundly important interpretation crucial for understanding contemporary feminism.” Joan Scott, Ms.
“The Grounding of Modern Feminism is brilliant . . . it is beautifully written . . . will become a key part of the canon of works to read on the history of feminism and women’s politics.” Virginia Sapiro, Political Science Review.
“Historians and academic feminists will enjoy Ms. Cott’s detailed, well-written, scrupulously documented narrative; general readers can profit from the pertinence of their story to our own feminism . . . Nina Baym, NY Times Book Review.
“No brief treatment can adequately convey the book’s richness, elegance, and intelligence.” Susan Porter Benson, American Historical Review.
“This is a book that will reorient future discussion of women’s past.” Richard Wightman Fox, Commonweal.
Brief excerpts from reviews of The Bonds of Womanhood: 'Woman's Sphere' in New England, l780‑l835 (Yale UP, 1977; 2d edition with new preface, Yale UP, 1997).
“An elegant and convincing study.” Willie Lee Rose, NY Review of Books
“A first-rate book . . . Cott demonstrates a rare ability to project herself into the context of her subjects. . . . Not only an example of first-rate scholarship . . . also a model of tact and insight.” Helene Moglen, The Yale Review
“A lovely, gentle, scholarly and valuable book.” Doris Grumbach, NY Times Book Review