404 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
0525429727, 31704020344438 (Penguin), 9780525429722
Includes bibliographical references (pages 345-391) and index.
"The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history. Nashville, August 1920. The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, granting all women the vote, is on the verge of ratification--or defeat. Out of the thirty-six states needed, thirty-five have approved it, and one last state is still in play--Tennessee. After a seven-decade crusade to win the ballot, this is the moment of truth for the suffragists, and Nashville becomes a frenzied battleground as the enormous forces allied for and against women's suffrage make their last stand. Elaine Weiss artfully recasts the saga of women's quest for the vote by focusing on the campaign's last six weeks, when it all came down to one ambivalent state. The dauntless--but divided--suffragists confront the 'Antis'--women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. With the 1920 elections looming, the Suffs are also opposed by wary politicians, corporate lobbyists, and blatant racists who don't want black women voting. In the steaming corridors of Nashville's state house and hotels, they stage a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bourbon, bigotry, and the Bible, and at the last moment, a crucial vote of conscience. [This book] has all the color and drama of a great political novel, but Weiss also shows how the core themes of American history--race, class, money, gender, states' rights, power, and democracy--all came into play in Nashville. Rich with vivid characters--and appearances by Susan B. Anthony, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt--The Woman's Hour shows what it took for activists to win their own freedom and how close they came to losing. Unfolding in the lingering shadow of the Civil War, and in the aftermath of the war to 'make the world safe for democracy,' the drama in Nashville also marks the dawning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights."