Teacher's Pick
Understanding the Details:
A Review of Mart Martin's
The Almanac of Women and Minorities in American Politics


While we don't typically like to see any historical volume touting itself as the almanac or history of anything, we take the title of Mart Martin's recent work with a grain of salt, and move on to the meatier elements of the book.

True to the core of its title, Martin's tome is an comprehensive tour of the presence, and exclusion, of women and ethnic minorities in the U.S. political scene, from the beginning of the nation's history through the 1990s. And, from the number of seats in the House of Representatives and Congress to the listings of significant first achievements, this exhaustive compilation is a wonderful quick-reference book, but it is also one that merits more serious and lengthier reader consideration.

In accessible language and easily-navigated form, Martin structures chapters addressing the political viability of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, as well as women from every ethnic group. The manner by which this is achieved — through hard data — gives the reader ample opportunity to draw personal conclusions. There is much to be said for this type of methodology, at at time when historical overviews of the works of people of color and women have become minefields of political agendas.

It is also of significance that Martin does not limit his valuable research abilities to the largest populations which have been historically underrepresented, but includes comparative sections on Irish, Italian, and other ethnic groups who immigrated to the United States.

Finally, we are especially pleased to report that the work does not end there: in addition to the data on women and ethnic groups in politics, Martin extends his study to a view of openly gay and lesbian individuals on the forefront, and behind the scenes, of the inner workings within the United States.

A treasury of knowledge for every teacher or parent and for children of any grade level, this Almanac of Women and Minorities in American Politics is a sure pick for educational quality.






Original Photograph, "Fight the Power," © 2000 by Cynthia Martinez

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