Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull

by Barbara Goldsmith

Hardcover, 1998




Knopf (1998), Edition: 1, 531 pages


From the author of Little Gloria . . . Happy at Last, a stunning combination of history and biography that interweaves the stories of some of the most important social, political, and religious figures of America's Victorian era with the courageous and notorious life of Victoria Woodhull, to tell the story of her astonishing rise and fall and rise again. This is history at its most vivid, set amid the battle for woman suffrage, the Spiritualist movement that swept across the nation (10 million strong by midcentury) in the age of Radical Reconstruction following the Civil War, and the bitter fight that pitted black men against white women in the struggle to win the right to vote. "From the Hardcover edition."

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½ (28 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member karenmerguerian
This book taught me a lot about a period of post-Civil War society I knew very little about. I had read about the suffragettes and how they divided over whether to support black suffrage unaccompanied by female suffrage. But I never knew much about the personal relationships and spiritual ideas
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that motivated and inspired them, and about how their hypocrisies set their cause back an entire generation. Woodhull is a fascinating character, in some ways a throwback to the Great Awakening, in others a rebel against Victorian conservatism. Henry Ward Beecher emerges as the great viilian of the period.
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LibraryThing member runaway84
Victoria Woodhull is one of the most fascinating people I've ever read about. The first woman to run for president, she was an incredibly intelligent woman with opinions and views far ahead of her time. And because of the great double-standard of society against women of that time, she was shunned
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because of them.

Woodhull lived the same kind of life that many men did at that time, but her reputation suffered because of it, while most men got off with just a slap on the hand. She was jailed for the stupidest reasons and lost all her money because of it.

Her strong views in a society that viewed wives as property of their husbands made men afraid of her. So, they used her past against her to discredit her. Heaven forbid women think for themselves! They might suddenly realize that the standards society has set for them are a load of crap.

If she lived in a different time, and didn't have a psychotic family or live in a hypocritical world, she could have done some amazing things. And even though she was shunned by society and eventually moved to London, the upheaval she left behind during the late 1860s and most of the 70s did have an effect on some woman. Unfortunately, because of her so-called controversial and scandalous reputation, we won't know just how so.

This book is extremely useful for learning about Victoria before she moved to London in the 1870s. Once she moved there, she changed her background and ancestors so much, that we don't know much except for her life in America. The book also includes some of the major players in the world around Woodhull: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Henry Bowen, Henry Tilton, Henry Ward Beecher, among others. A few chapters covered the infamous Tilton-Beecher trials.

Fascinating book that plays out almost like a fiction book, but who could make this up?
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Physical description

531 p.; 10 inches


0394555368 / 9780394555362
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