“With breathtaking sweep and narrative artistry, this book . . . chronicles the lives of two social and political activists and their older sister over the first half of the twentieth century.” -Featured review, American Historical Review, April 2020 Read the full review 2020.
“Sisters and Rebels is a fascinating, highly readable, and moving tale of white
Southern sisters seeking to break the stranglehold of white supremacy and racism…Hall leaves us with penetrating insights into left feminist politics, reform
Christianity, interracialism in the first half of the twentieth century, Southern
history, and women’s and gender history. For all that it is a book for scholars, it
is also a gripping tale to put by your bedside and read.” -Journal of Social History, September 2019 Read the full review.
“An epic, poignant biography of siblings ‘estranged and yet forever entangled’ by the South, each other and their haunted family history.” – Tony Horwitz for The New York Times, June 2019 Read the full review.
“Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s Sisters and Rebels is a master class in how to write history . . . This triple biography is also a corrective to histories of the South that emphasize its white male bigots, as Hall places women’s progressive political and intellectual work at the book’s heart. Despite being about a single family, Sisters and Rebels is breathtaking in its historical scope and flawlessly executed. The arc of the Lumpkin women raises at least the possibility of redemption — that the sins of the father need not be repeated by the daughters.” – BookPage, May 2019 Read the full review.
“Hall’s perceptive and elegant writing and her extensive, decades-long research into the sisters’ lives provides rich context for the creation of Southern reformers as a political force. VERDICT: Highly recommended” – Library Journal, May 2019 Read the full review.
“A sweeping, richly detailed intellectual and political history of America from the 1920s to the 1980s, an absorbing narrative based on impressive scholarship.” – From the Editor’s Desk of Kirkus Book Reviews (Starred Review), May 2019 Read the full review.
“This excellent triple biography . . . opens a fascinating window on America’s social and intellectual history.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred, Boxed Review), May 2019 Read the full review.
“A tour de force from a remarkable historian. Jacquelyn Hall’s long-awaited chronicle of the Lumpkin sisters offers unparalleled insight into the complexities of gender and race in the lives of white southerners.” – Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering
“The word befitting this work is ‘masterpiece.’ Sisters and Rebels is an impassioned, elegant, evocative narrative that turns biography into art and scholarship into the profound understanding of a South searching for its soul.” – Paula J. Giddings, author of IDA: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching
“An absolutely necessary, totally engaging history. Hall speaks from her own long relationship with the sisters as well as her rigorous and comprehensive scholarship, adding yet another dimension to this fine history which reads like a novel.” – Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls: A Novel
“Hall’s evocative, gripping and superbly well-researched story of the originality and bravery of these gentle—initially gentle—women contains both triumph and tragedy as it traces their invention of modern lives for themselves. It adds up to a sweeping, against-the-grain panorama of American history in the first half of the twentieth century.” – Nancy Cott, author of The Grounding of Modern Feminism
“At a time when millions hunger for hope that a better America is possible, one of our wisest historians uncovers a past we urgently need. With page after page of surprises conveyed in crystalline prose, Sisters and Rebels recovers a world that was eclipsed by McCarthyism to show us who we can become.” – Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains
“I loved this beautifully researched and expertly executed study of three women who were just as distinct, complicated, and problematic as the region they called home. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall again proves herself to be one of our nation’s most relevant scholars.” – Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home