Emmeline Pankhurst was perhaps the most influential woman of the twentieth century. Today her name is synonymous with the 'votes for women' campaign and she is remembered as the most brave and inspirational suffrage leader in history. In this absorbing account of her life both before and after the campaign for women's suffrage, June Purvis documents her early political work, her active role within the suffrage movement and her role as a wife and mother within her family.
This fascinating full-length biography of Emmeline Pankhurst, the first for nearly seventy years, draws upon new approaches to feminist biography to place her within the context of her family and friends. It is based upon an unrivalled range of primary sources, including personal interviews with her surviving family.
'[T]he story has all the things that should make for gripping biography - spirited women, nice clothes, a noble goal, the ghastly thrill of physical torture...There is no doubt that Purvis's biography is expert, accomplished and perhaps most important, acutely aware of the way in which historical reputations are made and remade according to who is doing the telling...not an especially jaunty read, but an important one.' - Kathryn Hughes, Sunday Times
'Purvis's work has involved 10 years of research in innumerable archives on both sides of the Atlantic and Australia. Her sources embrace letters, newspapers and other ephemera; fascinating, particularly the anatomy of militancy.' - Scotland on Sunday
'[A]n exercise in rehabilitation ... Pankhurst does at last get the biography she deserves - and, it is to be hoped, her place in the political pantheon.' - The Scotsman
'What Purvis does for Emmeline Pankhurst in her new biography is to provide a detailed, scrupulous, excellently researched retelling of the story, and thus offer a vindication of the woman.' - Michael Foot, The Guardian
'The product of careful and thorough research, offering in many respects an important corrective to established views ... Purvis has tracked down surviving letters in many scattered collections, as well as patiently trawling through newspaper reports of Emmeline's speeches, and gaining exclusive access to the late Jill Craigie's collection of suffrage material' - Mark Bostridge, Times Literary Supplement
'The book offers a needed revisionist view of a bold and charismatic feminist leader.' - Library Journal