This book is written for a popular audience in response to her discovery that her undergraduate students in the 1980s had no idea what the women's movement had redefined. Accordingly, it hits all the highlights: Betty Freidan, SNCC and other civil rights groups, the coming together of the Old and New Left in what she calls the “female generation gap,” Kennedy’s commission on women and the tension between liberal and radical feminism, NOW, Gloria Steinem, the Vietnam War, abortion, the naming of hidden injuries, sexuality, the body, intersections between feminism and race and class, protests and happenings, consciousness-raising groups, sex, pornography, ideological factionalism, trashing, paranoia, the FBI, commodification, the superwoman, and Ronald Reagan and the spread of global feminism. Throughout, she attempts to characterize the depth and breadth of the women’s movement as much as she can while also showing just how interconnected this historical period was. She also tries to account for the successes and failures of the women's movement and the legacy of the movement as a whole.
Rosen's faith in the power of narrative to continue the perpetual gender revolution is clear, and I think her point that we will lose the gains we have made if we are not vigilant is a good one - just look at the attacks on affirmative action. However, I would very much like to read a history of this iteration of the women's movement written by someone who was not there, to get a sense of the larger social and political context and a more thoroughgoing critique (instead of a celebration) of the movement itself.