Jane Addams by Louise W. Knight
Spirit in Action

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In this landmark biography, Jane Addams becomes America's most admired and most hated woman—and wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jane Addams (1860-1935) was a leading statesperson in an era when few imagined such possibilities for women. In this fresh interpretation, the first full biography of Addams in nearly forty years, Louise W. Knight shows Addams's boldness, creativity, and tenacity as she sought ways to put the ideals of democracy into action. Starting in Chicago as a co-founder of the nation's first settlement house, Hull House—a community center where people of all classes and ethnicities could gather—Addams became a grassroots organizer and a partner of trade unionists, women, immigrants, and African Americans seeking social justice. In time she emerged as a progressive political force; an advocate for women's suffrage; an advisor to presidents; a co-founder of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP; and a leader for international peace. Written as a fast-paced narrative, Jane Addams traces how one woman worked with others to make a difference in the world.

About Louise W. Knight

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Louise W. Knight is a writer and consultant to nonprofits and a former college administrator. The author of Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, she lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Published July 20, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Knight (Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, 2005) begins with a speech the 72-year-old Addams, by then a Nobel laureate, made in 1933, which urged her audience to break free from conventional thinking.

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The New York Times

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Knight's book is filled with fascinating detail about everyday life at Hull House, from the way residents were selected, to the fund-raising difficulties that emerged as Addams exhausted her personal wealth, to an absorbing account of Addams's life as a Chicago garbage inspector.

Jan 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action

Publishers Weekly

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In this well-supported and appealing portrait of an iconic American, Knight emphasizes Addams's struggle to redefine Victorian womanhood and claim her right to "possess authority in the public realm" and "exercise authority" as a lobbying feminist who helped women acquire the right to vote.

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action

Review (Barnes & Noble)

As Jane Addams, the founder of Chicago's Hull House, lay in her bed recovering from surgery in the spring of 1916, she received a visit from Theodore Roosevelt.

Sep 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action

Project MUSE

Progressive Era reformer Jane Addams is recalled best as synonymous with the U.S. settlement house movement, having cofounded the nation's first and largest settlement house, Hull House in Chicago in 1889.

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