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The Rabbi's Atheist Daughter


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Her Unsurpassed Speech Ch 1. Self-Creation Ch 2. The New Moral World Ch 3. A Radical in New York City Ch 4. Building A Women's Movement Ch 5. "Agitate, Agitate!" Ch 6. A Minority of One Ch 7. Dissention, Division, Departure Ch 8. The Heroine of a Hundred Battles Epilogue Notes Selected Bibliography Index

About the Author

Bonnie S. Anderson is professor of history emerita at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement (OUP, 2000) and co-author of A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present (OUP, 2000).


"Well-written and insightful, this book is a welcome addition to recent literature that internationalizes our understanding of nineteenth-century American social activism. In recounting Rose's highly unusual path into American antislavery, women's rights and freethought, Anderson enriches the traditional narrative of antebellum reform and points out the ways in which transatlantic connections both enhanced and complicated the life of key antebellum social movements." -- Paul E. Teed, History "In this deeply researched, eloquently crafted volume, Bonnie Anderson brings to life one of the most fascinating, yet elusive, figures of the nineteenth century... Anderson restores her subject to the pivotal place she clearly occupied among her peers. And for contemporary readers, Anderson draws inspiration from the past to challenge us to seek a future-feminist, internationalist, anti-racist-that Ernestine Rose worked hard to envision." -- Kathi Kern, American Jewish History "Engaging... Bonnie S. Anderson's biography of the remarkable Ernestine Potowska Rose explores a once-famous activist and utilizes her life to offer new insights about the movement for rights in antebellum America and beyond... In her careful exploration of a woman's-rights pioneer, an internationalist, and an atheist, Anderson offers new insights not only into the reform experience but also Rose's individual journey, one occasionally at odds with the communities to which she belonged." -- Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Journal of the Early Republic "Anderson has written a carefully researched and engaging biography, which, while sympathetic, is never fawning. Despite the dearth of information about Rose's personal life, Anderson constructs an intimate, honest portrait that captures Rose's immense intellect and wit and her tendency toward self-righteous condescension." -- Dawn M. Greeley, English Historical Review "Tapping international research and literature, drawing on her expertise in international women's history and emphasizing the transatlantic nature of Rose's life and work, Anderson creates new context for understanding Ernestine Rose's life, work, and words." -- Katherine Durack, American Jewish Archives Journal "Highly engaging....A wide-ranging and informative biography, The Rabbi's Atheist Daughter provides exceptional insights into the status of Christianity within the major political movements of the nineteenth century....Anderson offers a model life-and-times study of Rose....She also frames a biography, rich in context, that seems surprisingly relevant to readers today. Anderson sagely concludes that Rose's concerns for racial equality, feminism, and free thought, enriched by an international perspective, gain new importance during an era of resurging religious fundamentalism."--Mari Jo Buhle, Journal of American History "Anderson's thoughtful, well-written biography reexamines the life and work of feminist pioneer Ernestine Rose. Born in Poland in 1810 as the only child of an orthodox rabbi, Rose was a fixture in the women's suffrage and free-thinking movements in the US and Europe in the 19th century....As Anderson argues, Rose's belief in equality for all, no matter their religion, nationality, or race, does not sound as strange to today's readers as it did to many of her contemporaries. Consequently, Ernestine Rose was a woman well ahead of her time. Highly recommended."--CHOICE "Ernestine Rose has long been relegated to the margins of the abolitionist and woman's rights movements to which she devoted her life. In Bonnie Anderson's new book we have, finally, a biography that is as eloquent, passionate, freethinking, transnational, argumentative, and eager to explore the boundaries of radical possibility as was Rose herself."--Lori D. Ginzberg, author of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life "Bonnie Anderson uncovers, in this deeply researched work, the astonishing life of Ernestine Potowski Rose, champion of all human rights. A powerful orator, she crisscrossed an ocean and continents to speak her mind. A contemporary newspaper expected that it would take a hundred years for her to be fully appreciated. This excellent biography of a woman of fierce intellect and uncompromising convictions fulfills that prediction, affording our generation the fullest depiction yet of the remarkable Ernestine Rose."--Pamela S. Nadell, author of Women Who Would Be Rabbis: A History of Women's Ordination, 1889-1985 "For someone (like me) who thought she knew Ernestine Rose, this book is a revelation. The gift Bonnie Anderson gives us is the opportunity to hear the fearless words actually spoken by Ernestine Rose, and they're magnificent, powerful testimony to her constancy, boldness, and defiant advocacy for women's rights."--Susan Weidman Schneider, Editor in Chief, Lilith Magazine "Bonnie Anderson tells the powerful story of Ernestine Rose, one of the most distinguished and distinctive advocates of woman's rights, free thought, and racial equality in the nineteenth century. Rose linked activists in the United States with radical traditions in Britain and Europe, reminding readers of the multifaceted and transatlantic character of nineteenth-century social movements. While many books claim they are intended for both an academic and popular audience, The Rabbi's Atheist Daughter delivers on that promise."--Nancy A. Hewitt, Rutgers University "Anderson's portrait of a little-remembered activist will be a useful resource for scholars interested in the history of feminist intellectuals and 19th-century social movements."--Library Journal "Anderson has written an excellent biography of a too-little-known figure, and a fine addition to history and women's-studies collections."--Booklist Online Review "Bonnie S. Anderson's new biography elevates [Ernestine Rose] further into the top rank of 19th-century agitators...[H]er picture of Rose is consistently drawn with clarity and color."--Los Angeles Review of Books "Readers should find this biography of an 'international feminist pioneer' a fascinating reading experience about an amazing woman."--Jewish Independent

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