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54-40 or Fight

Emerson Hough

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .immodesty, she half protruded the foot which still retained its slipper. As I removed this latter, through some gay impulse, whose nature I did not pause to analyze, I half mechanically thrust it into the side pocket of my coat.

"This shall be security," said I, "that what you speak with my master shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

There was a curious deeper red in her cheek. I saw her bosom beat the faster rhythm.

"Quite agreed!" she answered. But she motioned me away, taking the stout boot in her own hand and turning aside as she fastened it. She looked over her shoulder at me now and again while thus engaged.

"Tell me," she said gently, "what security do I have? You come, by my invitation, it is true, but none the less an intrusion, into my apartments. You demand of me something which no man has a right to demand. Because I am disposed to be gracious, and because I am much disposed to be ennuyé, and because . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This book gives you an inside view of a critical period of North American history. It takes you to the decision makers at the close of the Civil War, when US expansion into the Texas/Mexican territories is being balanced with US possession of lands on the Pacific coast. Real arguments and inside...more

Another reviewer referred to this book as at once sexist and feminist, and I think that duality sums up the elements of this novel about which I feel most strong, both for and against. It is feminist in that Hough presents two women, Helena, Baroness von Ritz, and Lucrezia Yturrio, who he present...more

I started this book because the author grew up in my hometown of Newton, IA (He and his sister were in the first graduating class of Newton High School). Dispite being written in 1909, the book reads very much like a more modern novel.

I had read this a few years ago (pre-Goodreads) and so wanted to re-read to review it. The epilogue has a great quote to summarize the book: "any who smile at women's influence in American history do so in ignorance of the truth."

It is a remarkably sexist/feminist book. It is sexist in the sense...more