The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear (Hardcover)

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Kate Moore has done it again! In my opinion, this book is a 10 plus out of 10! After reading her account of The Radium Girls I was psyched to read another historical exposition that examines yet another battle for women’s rights. Shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation, Elizabeth Packard, wife and mother of six, was put into an “Insane Asylum” by her husband, just for the boldness of “speaking her mind.” This was a fairly common act and I guess women needed their OWN Emancipation Proclamation, because it was the Insane Asylum that MADE women insane! Elizabeth had a brilliant mind, and this made her “dangerous” as she was resolved to expose what really happened in the asylum. Her pen became her rage, and she was determined to “write her way out of this hell-hole!” The book reads like a novel, and every line of dialogue is taken from a memoir, letter, trial transcript, or another record. Elizabeth Packard spent much of her life fighting for the rights we have today. Read her story. It’s the least you can do! - Virgie

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— From Jocund July Staff Picks

Kate Moore has done it again with a brilliantly written microhistory about a woman who refused to back down and changed America for the better. Elizabeth Packard was one of an innumerable number of women institutionalized for nothing but convenience, in a time where married women were considered civilly dead by the law and treated as the property of their husbands. This thrilling and inspiring tale takes us through Packard’s endless fight for herself and for those around her, and showcases the incredible headway she made towards the rights of women, and towards the perception of mental healthcare.


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— From Outlandish October Staff Picks

July 2021 Indie Next List

“As this country waged war against slavery, a quiet heroine fought for the rights of women. A must read for all!”
— Fran Ziegler, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA


From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman hero whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women's rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.

1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened--by Elizabeth's intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So he makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line--conveniently labeled crazy so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose...

Bestselling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, an unputdownable story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom--and in so doing freed millions more. Elizabeth's refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day, and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.

Praise for The Woman They Could Not Silence:
Like Radium Girls, this volume is a page-turner.--Library Journal, STARRED review
A veritable tour de force about how far women's rights have come and how far we still have to go...Put this book in the hands of every young feminist.--Booklist, STARRED review
In Moore's expert hands, this beautifully-written tale unspools with drama and power, and puts Elizabeth Packard on the map at the most relevant moment imaginable. You will be riveted--and inspired. Bravo --Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

Product Details
ISBN: 9781492696728
ISBN-10: 1492696722
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: June 22nd, 2021
Pages: 560
Language: English