If you live in the UK and call yourself a feminist (and yes, I do and I do even actually have the t-shirt), then you kind of have to read something about the battle to win the vote for women in the anniversary year of (some) women being enfranchised, don’t you. I, of course, chose the most enormous one to read.

I put it clumsily on my Shiny review but I really did have to consider whether I personally would have committed what read as (and were described as then) acts of terrorism in order to get my political point across. Yes, I can see the women were desperate and did try to talk to male politicians and raise awareness before they were driven to go more extreme. But I have done a fair bit of campaigning and marching and while I’ve been on occasion willing to get myself arrested for the good of the many, only for non-violent protest. At least this book made me think about such things, and thinking about things is always good, right?

This is a huge book in many senses of the word.  It’s physically impressive enough to have arrived in a slightly alarmingly large box (thank you to publishers Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy). It’s packed to the gills with information. It brings out details of all the different kinds of women, working class to associates of Queen Victoria, who were part of the suffragette movement. And last but not least, it’s obviously the product of an absolutely huge amount of research work and synergising. The topic is obviously huge, too, in the year of the centenary of some women getting the vote. The author is also huge in the area, having a doctorate, having curated suffragette material in the Museum of London and having consulted on various documentaries and the film, Suffragette. So we know we’re in safe hands as we plunge into this fascinating, complicated and often disturbing movement.

Read the rest of my review on the Shiny New Books website here.