Sunday, March 1, 2009

Review of American Women Leaders: 1,560 Current Biographies

American Women Leaders: 1,560 Current Biographies

My review of American Women Leaders: 1,560 Current Biographies by Carol Hooks Hawkins. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2009).
Published in ARBAonline, March 2009.

In this volume, Hawkins compiles profiles of contemporary female leaders marked with career accomplishments, milestone achievements, or major honors to serve as role models for American girls. The 200-word entries, with portraits, contain biographical information on educational, career, and leadership success of women representing a variety of ethnic and regional backgrounds. Appendices of occupational and geographic listings are also included.

The profiles of the political, business, educational, and cultural leaders are for the most part objective and well researched, although there are coverage issues. Aerospace and medicine are well represented, but more emphasis is needed on female scientific and technological achievements. Additionally, profiles of religious leaders—all Christian—are abundant, at the expense of others. For example, Taffi L. Dollar, wife of televangelist Creflo Dollar currently under Senate investigation for financial malfeasances, is included, while Teach for American founder Wendy Kopp, one of 2008’s Time 100 World’s Most Influential People, is not.

Despite these issues, the volume may still useful for most libraries, especially considering the number of profiles of present-day leaders. Due to an editorial team and a rigorous select process, the 5-volume Notable American Women series (see ARBA 72, entry 221; ARBA 82, entry 771) may be a better choice, especially the recent volume on distinguished women who died in the twentieth century (see ARBA 2006).

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