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Sex Wars by Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy's Sex Wars begins in New York City in the years following the Civil War and revolves around both fictional and historical characters. The fictional protagonist is a Jewish immigrant, Freydeh Levin, who is juggling various jobs when she learns her sister has come to the city and disappeared. Her search for her sister takes her through brothels and prisons, providing her an eye-opening look at the plight of many women in the new modern era. Mixed with Freydeh's story are the stories of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony who spearheaded the women's rights movement, and Victoria Woodhull, a spiritualist and free-love advocate who was the first woman to run for President. On the other side of the spectrum is Anthony Comstock, a religious fundamentalist and anti-pornography crusader. He came to believe that most anything dealing with the body was evil, leading to the Comstock Law that made even birth control illegal. Sex Wars has received mostly positive reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "This is a big American story. It feels most American in its dissension, in its struggles, and in its ultimately hopeful tone. Sex Wars shows, in the way a deeply felt tale can, the roots of the battles we still fight today."
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Boston Globe review by Carol Iaciofano

Christian Science Monitor review by Yvonne Zipp

Marge Piercy
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