Alison Thorne provides a small-town Utah perspective on the progressive social movements that in the mid to late twentieth century dramatically affected American society. A born activist, Thorne has fought for women's rights, educational reform in public schools and universities, the environment, peace, and the war on poverty. Her efforts have been all the more challenging because of the conservative social and cultural environment in which she has undertaken them. Yet, Thorne, who has deep personal and familial roots in the politically conservative and predominantly Mormon culture of Utah and much of the West, has worked well with people with varied political and social perspectives and agendas. She has been able to establish effective coalitions in contexts that seem inherently hostile. She demonstrated this through her election to the local school board and through her appointment by both Republican and Democratic governors, eventually as chair, to the statewide Governor's Committee on the Status of Women.