Cautious Rebel, A Biography of Susan Clay Sawitzky


Lindsey Apple employs nearly seventy years of Susan Clay Sawitzky’s (great-granddaughter of Henry Clay) personal letters and poetry to reconstruct the world of a woman seeking modernity with “the millstone of tradition” upon her shoulders. Women’s studies has been inclined, unintentionally, to create a new elite. Historians have preferred to emphasize progress, particularly when created by women themselves, and biographers have chosen strong, successful women. But the vast majority of women were not activists. Susan Clay Sawitzky’s life shows that tradition and modernity can and did exist simultaneously, creating tremendous complexity in the lives of individuals. Her experiences suggest that compromise may result as much from fatigue as from lack of desire or courage. (Hardcover, 305 pages).

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