Picks and Pans Review: Wit & Wisdom of Famous American Women

updated 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

edited by Evelyn L. Beilenson and Ann Tenenbaum

"The best way to hold a man is in your arms," said Mae West. That seems an odd choice for the first quotation in a book that purports to deal with "the pressures and conflicts of being female in America." No matter. This handsome book, decorated by period engravings, is a gold mine as the following nuggets indicate: Emma Goldman, the Russian-American anarchist, said, "There is no hope even that woman, with her right to vote, will ever purify politics." Alice Roosevelt Long-worth said of Thomas E. Dewey, "How can he Republican Party nominate a man who looks like the bridegroom on a wedding cake?" And no collection of wit and wisdom would be complete without Dorothy Parker, who is credited with "Brevity is the soul of lingerie." But then women always did have a way with words. (Peter Pauper Press, $4.95)

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