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Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience

by Susan Pedersen

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When British women demanded the vote in the years before the First World War, they promised to use political rights to remake their country and their world. This is the story of Eleanor Rathbone, the woman who best fulfilled that pledge. Rathbone cut her political teeth in the suffrage movement in Liverpool, spent two decades crafting social reforms for poor women and children, and was for seventeen years their advocate in the House of Commons. She also played a critical role in imperial policymaking and in the opposition to appeasement. In the last decade of her life she sought to rescue Spanish republicans and Jews threatened by Hitler's rise to power. In this important book, Susan Pedersen illuminates both the public and private sides of Rathbone's life while restoring her to her rightful place as the most sophisticated feminist thinker and most effective British woman politician of the first half of the twentieth century.… (more)
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When British women demanded the vote in the years before the First World War, they promised to use political rights to remake their country and their world. This is the story of Eleanor Rathbone, the woman who best fulfilled that pledge. Rathbone cut her political teeth in the suffrage movement in Liverpool, spent two decades crafting social reforms for poor women and children, and was for seventeen years their advocate in the House of Commons. She also played a critical role in imperial policymaking and in the opposition to appeasement. In the last decade of her life she sought to rescue Spanish republicans and Jews threatened by Hitler's rise to power. In this important book, Susan Pedersen illuminates both the public and private sides of Rathbone's life while restoring her to her rightful place as the most sophisticated feminist thinker and most effective British woman politician of the first half of the twentieth century.

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