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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
The 19th-century women's movement had many prominent figures, but not all of them now have the recognition they deserve. Matilda Joslyn Gage is one of these heroines, born in 1826 and died in 1898, well before women had the right to vote. She was a formidable woman who knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (they became known as the "triumvirate"). She also coauthored the History of Woman Suffrage. However, Gage's views were too radical, to the point that even Anthony dissociated from her. In Quoting Matilda, Susan Savion invites the reader to rediscover Gage's thinking through her quotes on women's rights, slavery, economics, religion, and her most cherished value - freedom.
Quoting Matilda is a book that allows you to get to know the thoughts of a great woman of the 19th century. I believe Susan Savion's way of portraying Gage is the reason why it is possible to appreciate her so much. Reading Matilda's words allows the reader to understand her way of thinking immediately, while Savion's biographical information is essential to contextualize each quote. I was particularly fascinated by Gage's interest in the Iroquois (which I did not expect to find here) and her connection with the tribe. Overall, you feel the originality of Gage's thinking on each page of Quoting Matilda. Although her positions are sometimes extremist (some still are today), Gage is a character of exceptional value, and Savion did an excellent job of revealing her complex character. Anyone interested in the history of the women's movement will consider Quoting Matilda a must-read.