Times They Were A-Changing:
Women Remember the 60s and 70s

edited by Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers, Amber Lea Starfire

She Writes Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-938-31404-9.
Reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
Posted on 11/10/2013

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Cultural/Gender Focus; Anthologies/Collections; Nonfiction: American Women in Their Cultural/Historical Context

I am a second-wave feminist and this book resonated with me, bringing back my perfect past as a teen and twenty-something. Perfect? Well, not really, but I was full of enthusiasms and aspirations, thinking that my generation could make a difference in the world and our lives. Second-wave feminism broadened the debate of earlier feminists (who focused on voting and property rights) to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, and equality in several arenas. But feminism was only one facet of these times. The women who contributed to this volume experienced it all.

Each essay, story and poem in this book is evocative of a very special time. I was a California Girl, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, enamored of the Beach Boys, bell-bottomed pants, mini-skirts and personal freedom. The late 60s brought me to a screeching halt in my search for self. In 1968, I was a junior in high school, on the cusp of womanhood. Then Robert Kennedy was assassinated. My worldview changed, and my ego was out of the equation.

The women in this book experienced the Vietnam War, firsthand. They marched in protest parades, worked for political candidates, went to rallies and rock concerts, burned their bras and embraced the Summer of Love. They began to run for office, to fight for rights for the migrant worker, the student and the disenfranchised. They lived in New York, Berkeley, and the Heartland. They also lived in England, Germany and other spots in Europe where social mores were also changing, public opinion was loud, and terms like "radical," "feminist," and "hippie" were flung about as terms of derision.

This book is an anthology of opinions and perspectives. Each woman writer is expressing herself within the context of the 60s and 70s, and disclosing her soul and her past to the view of readers and critics. We were girls then, longing for recognition not as women, but as citizens of the world. We wanted to make a difference, yes, but we also wanted to *be* different. From Dianalee Velie's creative poem of rock 'n' roll first lines; to Amber Lee Starfire's recollections about the pivotal Stones concert in Altamont, CA, the contributors to this anthology do more than just peer into history's windows. They take us there, it is very real, and it is us.

Perfect? Not by a long shot. But we were sincere in our frustration and our longing, honest in our quest for new values and renewed faith in people. When all the shouting was done (or is it?!) we were stronger, more vocal, more understanding, and more determined than ever that the 60s and 70s become a groundswell of modern thought and creative change. "I am woman, hear me roar!"

This remarkable work was edited by three women: Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers and Amber Lea Starfire, who also contributed to the book. Find out more about these authors here. The website for the book is also a great place to visit and explore.

(See another review of this book, here)

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