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134Quaker History Peace as a Women 's Issue a well organized, cogent, and exceedingly useful survey ofthe ideas, accomplishments, and failures of separate women's peace activism. Slippery Rock UniversityJohn M. Craig Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. By Carleton Mabee with Susan Mabee Newhouse. New York: New York University Press. 1993. xvi + 293 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index. $35.00. , Truth may be coming back, Sojourner, that is, and Mabee may be the first of three packages in which Truth returns. In fact, in Truth, institutions such as the Claremont colleges have found a reason to sponsor an annual lecture "in honor of American Black women." It is not surprising then that several of America's most talented scholars are turning their attention to a re-examination ofwho Sojourner Truth was, in fact, as well as in mythology. Mabee's contribution to the conversation is a fascinating way to "do" history: very old fashioned. This is the kind ofhistory "no one does anymore." There's no sensationalism, no drama. It is compulsively chronological, straightforward. Mabee does not explore Truth's psyche for us, does not do much speculating about her motives, doesn't do anything quantitative, doesn't seem to much care whether we readers like his protagonist, though it is clear, as the story unfolds, that he likes his protagonist. He begins with a "time line" in which he highlights (his interpretation of) the pivotal events in Truth's life, and then starts the book at the beginning ofher life—such as we can know it. Then he plods, without engaging in peripheral vision or much speculation, through her young years, her older years etc. What can be "known" of Truth's life is described as such, with clear discussion ofhow it is to be "known." He tells us what his sources are, and tells us what biases he thinks these sources carry. He does not embellish those sources, and seems to take care to avoid unwarranted leaps of faith. This is a well-researched and level-headed narrative, intent upon sifting out fact from mythology, intent upon helping the reader discern the fuzzy lines between history and political fashion, between the meanings of nineteenth-century race relations and twentieth-century liberalism. The lengthy discussion ofsuch subjects on p. 81 is but one of a number of discussions of such issues. But in some of its commitmentto avoiding distraction, the study falls into a few traps, similar to those so carefully avoided. The author imputes great meaning to Truth's purchase of a house—yet he says she seldom lives in that house, and he doesn't give any other evidence for his argument that this home-purchase was as important to this nineteenth-century sojourner as we might impute it to be from a twentieth-century perspective. Other slips oftwentieth-century logic include the post-Freudian assertion that Truth's decision-making dexterity may have been hampered by illiteracy (p. 66). In attempting to re-evaluate our understanding ofthe famous Akron speech (ain't I a woman) Mabee weaves togetherthe story from four different reports, neglecting to note that all four reports could conceivably have been generated from one source. That Mabee does not give a nod to modem scholarship on women and womanhood—to Elisabeth Griffith on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or to Marilyn Richardson on Maria Steward, or to Shirley Yee on black women abolitionists— is also somewhat disappointing. Book Reviews135 One could continue to find flaws, but one should not overlook the strengths of this work. Mabee has begun to reorder a chapter ofhistory that certainly is in need of re-ordering. He has re-invigorated the intellectual exercise of history-asdetective story. And he has done so in a low-keyed but certainly not somnolent way. This is a kind ofhistory "no one does anymore," but maybe more historians should. It is very nice to have Truth back. Haverford CollegeEmma Jones Lapsansky One Woman 's PassionforPeace andFreedom: The Life ofMildred Scott Olmsted. By Margaret Hope Bacon. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1993. xx + 394 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography and index. $34.95. Mildred Scott Olmsted (1 890-1990), life long peace activist and supporter of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 134-135
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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