Booklist – “Passing: When People Can’t Be Who They Are”

Kroeger, Brooke.
Sept. 2003, 240 p.
PublicAffairs $25 (1-891620-99-1). 302.

The term passing is most often thought of as racial minorities passing for white to receive the privileges denied them due to race. But Kroeger plumbs the varieties and complexities of passing across racial, sexual, and economic lines. She offers profiles of a black man who passed for a white Jew; a working-class Puerto Rican woman who became an Orthodox Jew and passed for privileged; a gay man at a conservative Jewish seminary passing for straight; a lesbian naval officer who passed for straight; and a respected poet who, on a lark, adopts a different persona and ends up writing pseudonymously about the rock-and-roll music scene. Kroeger intersperses these profiles with references in history, literature, psychology, and contemporary culture that explore the dynamics of passing — the lies and deception involved as well as the separation from community and family. She also explores the parallels between civil disobedience and passing, which, although it is a self-centered act, allows the passer to secure oppotunities in the present rather than waiting for social change. An engaging look at how certain people choose to deal with social inequities. — Vanessa Bush

Used with Permission © American Library Association

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The Suffragents won the Gold Medal in US History in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards and was a finalist for the 2018 Sally and Morris Lasky Prize, presented by the Center for Political History.  See Summer Camp Newsletters” and Facebook posts from book-related appearances. Reviews, notices, and articles about my books are under their titles here. My articles are here.

2019 Calendar:
January 29:
Exhibition Opening Remarks: “Women Get the Vote: A Historic Look at the Nineteenth Amendment,“New York Society Library. February 23: Public Values in Conflict with Animal Agribusiness Practices,” UCLA Law School, Los Angeles.  March 13: The Suffragents,” Scarsdale Woman’s Club, Scarsdale NY. March 24: League of Women Voters, Albany County at the Bethlehem (NY) Public LibraryMarch 25:Judges, Lawyers, and Women’s Suffrage: Recognizing the Men Who Stood with Women on the Front Lines,” Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District, CLE, NY State Courts at SUNY Albany Law School, Albany NY. May 15: “The Republican Suffragents,” National Women’s Republican Club, New York City. August 7: “From Emma Goldman to the Marketplace of Ideas: Marking the 100th Anniversary of Free Speech at the Supreme Court,.” AEJMC, Toronto. August 14: National Park Service webinar