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A Politically Incorrect Feminist

Phyllis Chesler is a pioneer of Second Wave Feminism. Chesler and the women who came out swinging between 1963-1975, integrated the want ads, brought class action lawsuits on behalf of economic discrimination, opened rape crisis lines and shelters for battered women, held marches and sit-ins for abortion and equal rights, famously took over offices and buildings, and pioneered high profile Speak-outs. They began the first-ever national and international public conversations about birth control and abortion, sexual harassment, violence against women, female orgasm, and a woman’s right to kill in self-defense.

Now, Chesler has stories to tell. The feminist movement has changed over the years, but Chesler was close to other pioneers, including Andrea Dworkin, Flo Kennedy, Kate Millett, and Gloria Steinem. These women were fierce forces of nature, smoldering figures of sin and soul, rock stars and action heroes in real life. Some had been viewed as whores, witches, and madwomen, but were changing the world and becoming major players in history. In A Politically Incorrect Feminist, Chesler introduces us to some of feminism's major players—and to the issues which drove them into world-changing action.

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Praise for A Politically Incorrect Feminist

"In A Politically Incorrect Feminist, Phyllis Chesler vividly recounts the glory days of the women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s, of which she was a prominent leader...Chesler gave a voice to the vulnerable, including psychiatric patients, mothers deprived of child custody, and abused and prostituted women. In the culture of balkanized fundamentalisms in which we currently live, Chesler’s critique of the feminist movement she helped build is both brave and painfully relevant. Chesler writes in her authentic, jargon-free voice, telling it like it was. She’s as passionate a freethinking feminist as she ever was. Nowadays, freethinking may be one of the few bulwarks against the thought police of the left and the proto-fascist lies of the right. Chesler’s genius is her refusal to submit to tribalism." -- Los Angeles Review of Books, Miriam Greenspan

"Very tough going (alas, woman are human, warts and all), but a Need-to-Read.” - Margaret Atwood

“Phyllis Chesler stands out among women in general and feminists in particular. In this dark age of identity politics, when the rights of millions of women are sacrificed at the altar of intersectionality, Phyllis Chesler keeps us all focused on universal human rights for all women. This book is a must-read for all people who truly care about the rights of women.” -Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel

 

Phyllis Chesler is the pioneer who used Second-Wave feminist activism combined with knowledge of psychology and psychiatry to reveal and push to eradicate horrific abuses in the mental health system, the courts, the workplace, and the family. She exemplifies the drive, passionate commitment, and hope of Second Wave feminists about the needed revolution for women and was an early teacher about how race, class, age, and sexual orientation fed that need. Her life, work, and writing are  expansive, operatic, and deeply thoughtful. A Politically Incorrect Feminist is filled with the Second Wave's stories of love and pain, kindness and cruelty, high expectation and disappointment, mutual support and devastating betrayals, dreams of true equality and sorrow at its absence, and grief when trusted, respected friends caused hurt and cited political choices in their defense. She delves into dark places that have sullied the feminist dream but also into the jewels of friendship, truthtelling, and historymaking that feminism, thank the Goddess, has brought. Chesler tells the stories of many feminists in all their complicated humanity, their strengths and frailties, their goals and fears...including bravely her own. - Paula J. Caplan, author of The Myth of Women's Masochism

 

This rather wry reprisal of her life both entertains and educates. The chapter "Sorely “Afflicted Feminist Geniuses" is unusually candid, bold, and fair.  The obituary of the late great Kate Millett is eye-opening and worthy of praise in itself. This is the 18th book Chesler has offered us during her extraordinary public life. Her industry, endurance, inspiration, and general work ethic have always been both phenomenal and highly relevant internationally. - Linda Clarke, Author of On A Planet Sailing West

 

Phyllis Chesler’s memoir is an original, invaluable, and fast-paced story about how the daughter of working-class Jewish immigrants became a pioneer leader in America’s struggle for women’s rights. In riveting detail, she recounts major feminist lawsuits in which she was personally involved and which concerned unjust psychiatric diagnoses, the sexual abuse of female patients, rape, a woman’s right to self-defense, custody battles, surrogacy, and much else. At times shocking, funny, definitely scandalous, she manages to remain fair towards those who have betrayed their own principles. Chesler is a classically liberal feminist whose work I have taught at Harvard and whom I have known for sixty-five years. She represents the honorable feminist minority on issues such as motherhood, religion, and foreign policy. A brilliant and controversial read that you won’t be able to put down. - Alan M. Dershowitz, author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law

 

Lest feminism become another casualty of left-wing politics gone off the rails, Chesler comes in as Wonder Woman and saves it, for the next generation and the next, and the next." - Rhoda Kadalie, former South African Human Rights Commissioner

 

This is history in the raw. Without genuflecting to cults of personality or the collective narratives of the media, Chesler shines her laser analytic intelligence on the creativity, brilliant insights, heroic actions and sacrifices of the women who led and defined the greatest social movement of the 20th century. These women are actors on the stage of history and Chesler treats them with the respect and honesty they deserve. A deeply inspiring and relevant antidote to women of all ages everywhere. - Merle Hoffman, Author of Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman who brought Abortion from the back alley into the Boardroom

 

THE WORK IS MONUMENTAL.  IT IS STAGGERINGLY GOOD- BEYOND GOOD- and---I really did cry to see how many women I loved who had already died.  I skimmed and skimmed and skimmed.  I did not read it all- That will take days, maybe weeks- but YOU DID IT PHYL;   YOU CAPTURED US---BROUGHT US ALL BACK ALIVE AND KICKING.  Yes screaming too and very human.  We had our warts and wands showing.   We were very bad and very beautiful.  I, WHO NEVER AM IMPRESSED, I AM BEYOND IMPRESSED/   WOW-WOW-WOW-WOW - Barbara Joans, author of Bike Lust: Harleys, Women, and American Society

 

In her memoir, Dr. Chesler, recaptures both the glory of feminist awakening and the audacity and passion of her early writings that inspired so many women and brought her fame.   She also recounts the inevitable disappointments of the movement, from petty jealousies to deep betrayals.  With the wisdom of age, she seeks balance, generosity, but not acceptance; her indignation on behalf of oppressed women, and her vision of liberation, are still as passionate as ever. - Judy L. Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery

 

Phyllis Chesler’s memoir is a most important part of the historical record. It discusses our major struggles, but also elucidates issues other feminists haven't touched on, or have glossed over. Chesler describes how feminists supported each other’s successes, or betrayed and undercut each other out of jealousy and ambition. She names names, and gives us the details. What’s new in Chesler’s memoir is the assertion that mental illness plagued a significant number of the leading figures of the women’s movement. Chapter 11 (itself worth the price of the book) explains how she came from a position of refusing to consider that feminists could be mentally ill to acknowledging that “some of our most beloved geniuses” were “clinically schizophrenic or manic depressive, suicidal, addicted to drugs or alcohol, etc.” She points out that the same has been true for many great male artists. - Martha Shelley, Author of The Throne in the Heart of the Sea

 

Take a trip down memory lane with Phyllis Chesler or immerse yourself in first learning the complex how and why the second wave of feminism was so very needed. Either way or both ways, A Politically Incorrect Feminist: Creating aMovement with Bitches, Lunatics, Dykes, Prodigies, Warriors, and Wonder Womenis a marvelous unforgettable read. Outrageous, brilliant, and courageous, Chesler is the perfect person to guide us into the nuances and complexities of feminist activities in the 1970s (she was there through it all) and how we are not finished yet in the 21st century, 50 years later. Just look at the same issues that come up again and again. Rape. Abortion and Reproductive Choice.  Sexual Harassment and the “Me Too” movement. Mothers on Trial. Women’s love/hate relationship with each other and men. I can’t put it down. I promise, neither will you! -Lenore Walker, Author, The Battered Woman

Dr. Phyllis Chesler has written a gang-buster tell-all in her delicious biographical work, A Politically Incorrect Feminist. A good amount of what she reveals inside these pages is indeed politically incorrect, as Dr. Chesler, in her inimitable style here and elsewhere, refreshingly calls things the way she sees them, no-holds-barred. She lays bare the genius, the charm, and the sheer insanity of the biggest names in the feminist movement, women who set the world on fire, women who transformed society while they battled amongst themselves and suffered nervous breakdowns. Reading this book is like being given a front row seat and a panoramic view to witness one of the most exciting eras of recent history, as narrated by someone who sat at the center of the inner circle. I read almost the entire book in one long sitting. I love, love, love this book. - Mo Therese Hannah PhD

Amazon Reviews:

Chesler's new book provides a close-up insider view of how the second wave feminist movement launched and evolved....a very human depiction you'll never find in books written by those wedded to a sanitized, politically correct version of reality. As always, Phyllis Chesler fearlessly tells it like it is. I'm sure she's ruffled some feathers in the process, but the truth she tells feels genuine and true. Thank you, Phyllis, for this excellent historical work with a personal side that gives it life!-Dean Draznin

For decades Phyllis Chesler has been an outspoken and courageous fighter for human rights. Now she reflects on her path as a writer and activist, recounting the feminist struggles in which she was a pioneer from the 1960s on. Her account is one of hopes and conflicts, victories and defeats, friends gained and lost as American society underwent an extraordinary transformation. Chesler evokes all this with both unsparing honesty and generosity. Her book is an indispensable guide to the past fifty years as well as a moving portrait of an independent-minded woman who has led an extraordinary life.-Daphe Patai

This is an excellent book. I was hesitant, at first, to buy this book. Being male and married to a second wave feminist myself, I thought the book would either minimize the events or maximize the importance of the movement.. I am pleased that this belief did not keep me from buying, reading and commenting upon it. This is an excellent book because it is truthful, it is accurate and holds no punches. I validate the book's accuracy because my wife and her friends all lived through it. Also we constantly discussed the movement, its aims, values, actions, philosophy and goals. While Chesler writes of the importance of the Second Wave Feminist Movement, she does not aggrandize it. In fact she underplays it a bit. The movement changed America. It is not only the laws that changed, but attitudes about women changed. Opportunities opened.

This work can be used as an educational tool for young women. They often have no idea of what life was like fifty years ago. They have so much and do not often understand that it is only through this movement, that they are able to enjoy their freedoms, their educations and the control of their own bodies. As a Viet Nam Vet I came home in the middle of this Feminist Revolution and thought it was nonsense. It took a while before I was able to both understand and appreciate it. This book allows us all to be right there, in the middle, and see how much was gained and how very hard it was to achieve. Read it. It is written in approachable English. -Kenneth L. Harmon

I love the title of this book! The author's stories of the women that created the freedoms that I enjoy as a woman today were inspiring. I loved reading about how far woman have come and about the women who made it possible for us to be treated equally in the workplace and outside of it. -Cristie

This book is just like so much of Dr Chesler's earlier work -- groundbreaking, brilliant, reflecting moral clarity rare within the academy or without -- simply, fantastic and important. The title is wonderfully eye-catching, but make no mistake: though her work is passionate throughout, Chesler's is a voice of reason in a world that increasingly appears to have lost its mind. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should read this book. -The Mayor

Phyllis Chesler’s book “A Politically Incorrect Feminist” is a compelling, if rather unbecoming peek into the second wave feminist movement from the late 1960’s until today. She has known “everyone” in the feminist movement – from Gloria Steinem to Bella Abzug, from Betty Freidan to Kate Millett and Andrea Dworkin – and has stories to tell about all of them.

Chesler was one of the first voices to speak out for women with mental health diagnoses, defending them from predatory therapists, violent husbands and lovers, as well as harassing employers. She was unrelenting in her desire to help women to overcome the stigma of psychiatric treatment to allow them to get care while simultaneously taking the entire industry to task for the harm done to women clients, eventually culminating in a $1 million dollar reparations demand she famously made at the 1969 APA convention.

Chesler’s story begins with a review of her childhood and relationship with her parents, especially her mother. This somewhat tense and ultimately disappointing relationship was hardly unique among many mothers and daughters but, as might be expected, seems to have set a pattern for many of Chesler’s relationships. In fact, trusting innocent optimism that ultimately ends in disappointment, and sometimes betrayal, is an important theme of this book. Throughout her life and career, Chesler repeatedly finds herself in situations in which a person, a group, or the movement itself, betrays her as it does countless others. Examples of this range from her first husband (not uncommon), who essentially kidnapped her into a harem (very unusual), to several feminist co-leaders who failed to support her after her employer raped her and retaliated when she attempted to blow the whistle. And yet, with few exceptions, Chesler treats even those who have disillusioned her with equanimity and surprising warmth.

Chesler walks readers through her many books, and the historic, political activism that she organized around them. These areas range from her involvement in the Baby M case (Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M), to her writings and public educating on surrogacy, custody, women’s role in religion, and her thoughts on anti-Semitism (The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and what we Must Do About It). She also covers some of more recent her writings on Islamic gender apartheid and honor killings. Her personal writings provides context and clarity to her written works as well as an unexpected amount of humor.

Surprisingly, though this is a significant historical document, it is also real page-turner. Chesler is able to review stories which have appeared in the press, in her other books, or on social media with new levels of insight and detail. She is certainly willing to “name names” of the villains, as well as the heroes, of the second wave feminist movement. I truly never expected the kind of compelling read that this book offers and I was pleased to be left with an overriding feeling of recovered history filled with humor, tenderness, and insight. -C

No social movement in history changed American culture as profoundly as the feminist movement which re-emerged in the 1970’s. As a college-level women’s studies teacher since 1970, I believe this is the most extensive, richly-detailed and well-written account of that historic movement yet to appear in print. It is a big, rich, often surprising book, that is several things at once: the personal life-trajectory of one of the central early leaders of feminism, an analysis of many of the key concepts of the movement, and an inside look at its major conferences and events. But most of all, it is an honest, loving, and informative celebration of the hundreds of women who created, marched, and led the feminist movement. Some 600 women’s names at least are mentioned, both the well-known and virtually unknown, in the U.S. and all around the world. The book is a treasure for historians of feminism, and of modern American culture. -By Dr. Robert Brannon,
Dept. of Psychology, Brooklyn College CUNY Chair, NOMAS MSA Committee on Feminist Movement History

I'm not sure there is an Orwell prize, but if there is one Phyllis Chesler deserves it for this brave and revealing book. Of course Chesler and her fellow second-wave feminists have good reason to find Orwell disappointing on the issues of gender equality and for his attitude towards homosexuality. That failing aside, Orwell remains our civilization's greatest defender of truth against falsehood, of freedom of thought against cultural totalitarianism. Chesler's writing in this and other books meets the Orwell test. She has insisted on telling the truth, even if they are sometimes inconvenient truths, about one of the important social and political movements of the past half century. -By Sol Stern

Being roughly the same age as the author, I remember a lot of the events she describes and knew a few of the people. Apart from being a wonderful read, her book is marvelously accurate and spot on about the issues and their implications. I am awed by Chesler's courage and spirit of adventure, the risks she took, her successes, and her grace when things did not work out as intended. I hope that her book will inspire young people of all genders to take on the real challenges that women in the world face today. - By J.S. Jacobson

As a feminist, scholar, and activist, I can keenly say that Phyllis a living treasure and so is her latest book! I lept from page to page, spanning the years, learning first-hand about the courage, fortitude, and perspectives of her 2nd wave feminist journey. Written from her very personal point of view, this frank take on our fore-sisters offers a powerful glimpse of what it was to be THERE making HER-story. I have ordered this book for my college library collection and am using it in my classroom, teaching Codes of Gender, and Mother Studies. I believe that Phyllis's powerful voice is a testimony to never being afraid to live an authentic life and speak TRUTH with PASSION. She has a truly brilliant mind, and she challenges us all to confront privilege and champion change. By Martha Joy Rose - Founder, Museum of Motherhood, Adjunct Professor, Manhattan College

Dr. Phyllis Chesler has written a gang-buster tell-all in her delicious biographical work, A Politically Incorrect Feminist. A good amount of what she reveals inside these pages is indeed politically incorrect, as Dr. Chesler, in her inimitable style here and elsewhere, refreshingly calls things the way she sees them, no-holds-barred. She lays bare the genius, the charm, and the sheer insanity of the biggest names in the feminist movement, women who set the world on fire, women who transformed society while they battled amongst themselves and suffered nervous breakdowns. Reading this book is like being given a front row seat and a panoramic view to witness one of the most exciting eras of recent history, as narrated by someone who sat at the center of the inner circle. I read almost the entire book in one long sitting. I love, love, love this book. - By Dr. Mo Hannah

"A Politically Incorrect Feminist: Creating a Movement with Bitches, Lunatics, Dykes, Prodigies, Warriors and Wonder Women” by P Chesler (Aug. 2018).

Partial comments by Donald Harrison in the 22 Aug 2018 "San Diego Jewish World":

Readers gain personal insights into almost all the celebrities within the feminist movement, including Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin, Letty Cottin Pogrebrin, and Kate Millet, just to name a few, and learn that like many an activist or political movement, feminism in America has its internal controversies and personality clashes, as well as its moments of solidarity.

In one searing chapter, Chesler writes of being raped by the late United Nations Undersecretary Davidson Nicol, under whose auspices she had helped to arrange an international feminist conference in Oslo When she told some high-ranking friends in the feminist movement the harrowing details of her rape, instead of coming to her aid, they took the side of Nicol, who was from Sierra Leone. How could they do this? As Chesler understood it, her exploitation was less important to these friends than the perceived greater good of the movement. Nicol, an African, was a powerful man, and accusing him might be made out to be racist.

While such schisms in the feminist world make for important and at times riveting reading, I should like to focus in this review on some of the feminist issues that impact upon the Jewish community, of which Chesler is an activist part. When Chesler’s son Ariel was born, a feminist brit milah was conducted with such luminaries as Steinem, Erica Jong, and Aviva Cantor Zuckoff in attendance. …

Another feminist ceremonial was a woman’s Passover seder, many of which, to Chesler’s dismay, have tended to elevate Moses’ sister, Miriam, to the role of principal protagonist. “It is understandable but childlike, this hunger to see our own gendered human image writ large,” Chesler wrote. She recalled at one seder that the women attendees introduced themselves according to their matrilineal descent. “I am Phyllis, daughter of Lillian.” “I am Letty, daughter of Ceil.” Chesler observed: “We were a band of (motherless) sisters in search of our female ancestors. We created a ritual of verbal matrilineage, and introducing ourselves this way was—and remains—psychologically empowering.”

Another feminist ceremonial was a woman’s Passover seder, many of which, to Chesler’s dismay, have tended to elevate Moses’ sister, Miriam, to the role of principal protagonist. “It is understandable but childlike, this hunger to see our own gendered human image writ large,” Chesler wrote. She recalled at one seder that the women attendees introduced themselves according to their matrilineal descent. “I am Phyllis, daughter of Lillian.” “I am Letty, daughter of Ceil.” Chesler observed: “We were a band of (motherless) sisters in search of our female ancestors. We created a ritual of verbal matrilineage, and introducing ourselves this way was—and remains—psychologically empowering.”

Chesler memorialized Rivka Haut, an Orthodox woman with whom she studied Torah once and sometimes twice a day for nearly 25 years. ,...She pioneered prayer groups for women, which at the time, most Orthodox rabbis vehemently opposed –so much so that one of her daughters nearly lost her future husband because his father feared that Rivka’s radicalism might ruin his son’s life and those of his future grandchildren.”

In Israel, Chesler became a leader in the campaign among women to pray freely at the Kotel, without the restrictions of place and mode of prayer placed upon them by the Orthodox establishments. Describing the moment when the nascent Women of the Wall movement first carried the Torah to the Kotel, and donned tallisim and kippot, Chesler commented: “Without knowing it, this is what I had longed for all through my Orthodox childhood in Borough Park, Brooklyn. This was a tikkun, a redemptive repair for my not being allowed to become a bat mitzvah (Orthodox), and for relegating me to lesser (intellectual) life in terms of Torah study. This moment was a dream come true—one I never knew I’d been harboring all those years.”

There is much information to absorb in this volume, and students of the feminist movement will want to read Chesler’s memoir over and over again. - by William Garrison Jr.

“Chesler’s honest approach, oscillating between personal narrative and social criticism, illustrates the individual trials and triumphs that go into the formation of a nationwide movement."” -Publisher's Weekly

“The author of Women and Madness (1972) constructs a highly entertaining account...never boring, Chesler’s memoir will raise more than a few hackles.” -Kirkus Reviews

No political/social movement can be launched nor hurled forward by the faint-of-hearts. The second wave feminism required no less gumption and fierceness than the first wave. The first-wave feminism—that of the suffragists who won women the rights to vote and to own property—surged with the second wave, which started in the 1960 and gained momentum in the 1970s. It sought to broaden women’s rights to equality in family, sexuality and employment and sounded the battle cry for fights in areas unique to women such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, marital rape, paid maternity leave, sexual harassment, affordable child care, and changes in divorce and custody laws.

Paradoxically, civil rights, students’ rights and labor unions often failed to include women within their leadership ranks, nor did they give credence to women’s issues in either their ideologies or policies until feminists fought them internally to be heard and included.

While in this excellent book Phyllis Chesler claims to not have written the history of the second wave feminism, she nevertheless does so through her own eyes and personal experiences that were deeply intertwined with the fabric of the movement. She recounts her involvement with almost every aspect of this gut-wrenching years-long struggle, and most importantly, offers an intimate introduction of the many players—their strengths and weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and yes, madness. The battles that raged on the road to women’s liberation were not only against the male hierarchy and dominance of political and social views that held women as childish, given to hormonal fluctuations, and incapable of thinking straight, but also internally. The fire in the belly that fueled feminists’ fervor and made them effective in ultimately achieving many of the movement’s goals burned also in the intensity of their diverse worldviews that often targeted other women. Backstabbing, public shaming, envy and demands for conformity crippled many talented women leaders. Many fell by the wayside, slunk away to lick the wounds inflicted not by their powerful male opponents and their centuries-old beliefs, but rather by their colleagues and fellow Amazonians—often close friends—right inside the movement and in the many organizations that sprouted within it.

Luckily, Phyllis Chesler is one who remained standing through it all, albeit not unscathed. Her personal achievements as a psychologist who confronted the entire industry and forced it to change its perceptions and treatment of women patients is documented not only in this book, but in the astounding success of her ground-breaking book, Women and Madness (a book that was followed by over a dozen other best-sellers, each stepping into arenas no one had ever dared enter before.) Time and again, Chesler paid a personal price when she became the target of envy by those who did not wish to see stars rising within the feminist movement, by those who held the paradoxical idea that for true equality women should not publish over their own bylines (an unimagined request to be made against men writers,) or by early Lesbians who discredited heterosexual women who chose to marry and become mothers as Chesler did. The reasons for rancor could be many—or any—as Chesler analyzed in her book Women’s Inhumanity to Women, and as I experienced years later in a mini version when I traveled for three weeks with a group of fifty women to the 1995 International Women’s Conference in Beijing: Environmentalists against those who brought plastic forks; blue-collar working women against executives; Lesbians against heterosexuals; non-Jews against Jews; women of color against Caucasians; West Coast women against “Yankees”; health-conscious against coffee-drinkers….

Yes, reading the book reveals that indeed, the movement was created by “bitches, lunatics, prodigies and warriors,” as the book subtitle describes. Yet, overall, they were Wonder Women, because they lurched our society forward into the changes of the late 20th century and early 21st century—and to what we are now experiencing as the “third-wave feminism.”

I was younger, yet growing up across the ocean I was unaware of any of these developments when I cultivated my own brand of feminist ideas—and was labeled by some friends “a castrating female.” Later, in New York, when I was drawn into a vicious custody battle, the judge listened to the argument that I should not be allowed to raise my two baby daughters because I had attended a conscious-raising seminar, and the former marriage counselor—a renowned psychologist—testified against me because I was “a feminist.” At the same time, the judge refused to put into evidence my lawyer’s presentation of the father’s passport proving that he traveled two to three weeks each month. Reading Phyllis Chesler’s book I recalled how, a new immigrant to the USA, I had sought out someone who could explain this. I checked with the local university, where I was studying for my masters’ degree, but in those days of pre- “Women Studies,” which Professor Chesler helped introduce, I couldn’t even articulate what kind of an expert I was looking for. Phyllis Chesler, a psychotherapist and a warrior, and the author of Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody, would have been perfect.

The reluctance of women to acknowledge greatness and give credit to feminists who have paved the way for us continues. Several years ago I proposed to the Women National Book Association to honor Phyllis Chesler, a prolific author of eighteen books that changed the landscape of our society and helped shape for the better the lives of millions of women, to receive the Association’s yearly award. Her candidacy was rejected because she was “too controversial.” Controversial because, as she describes in A Politically Incorrect Feminist she demands that American feminists take a stand against the subjugation and brutality that is the lot of hundreds of million women in Muslim countries. Controversial because her unique research of “honor killing” in Western countries of daughters of Muslim families that shame their families by assimilating into Western culture or dare refuse arranged marriages is perceived as politically incorrect against Islam.

Yes, “the personal is political,” and this book that charts the bravery and valor of so many amazing women has inspired me anew to fight for women’s rights and dignity both at home and abroad.-Talia Carner

I'm roughly 260 pages into this 300 page book and had to stop reading, because I don't want it to end. While Ms. Chesler is probably from my mother's generation, her writing--her feelings, her life--speak movingly and compellingly to me, to my friends, to their children. Who knew that a book about feminism could be such a page-turner? With nether smugness nor sanctimony, Ms. Chesler shows us how she tackled life with joy instead of fear; in doing so, she shows us how we can do the same. - EJeanT on Amazon.com