Review of "The Words of Extraordinary Women," a book of quotations

Sunday, August 29, 2010



Selected and Introduced

By Carolyn Warner

Newmarket. 163 pp. Paperback, $12.95

Perhaps Shirley Temple Black said it best: "Nothing crushes freedom as substantially as a tank."

Or maybe Lady Bird Johnson said it best: "The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom."

So many women have said it so well on so many subjects -- politics, the arts, humor, success, family, faith, education -- that businesswoman Carolyn Warner has collected their pithy thoughts and compiled them in a slim, useful volume, "The Words of Extraordinary Women." Useful because as Warner, founder of Corporate Education Consulting, says, the right quotation can nail home your point in just about any setting.

Useful also just for the humor: "My husband said he needed more space. So I locked him outside" (Roseanne Barr); or grit: "I have never been contained except that I made the prison" (African American poet Mari Evans); or wry insight: "Beware of the man who praises women's liberation. He is about to quit his job" (Erica Jong); or brilliance: "Silence may be as variously shaded as speech" (Edith Wharton).

The voices span the years; the women are known and unknown. Helpfully, Warner has supplied a biographical index identifying each one.

The book is often inspiring. Every page stops you, urging a moment of reflection, as when Margaret Mead offers a reminder: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

-- Steven Levingston

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