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Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas

Aurora Levins Morales

South End Press, 2001, 244 pages
ISBN 0-89608-644-5 paper $17

Remedios offers a curative history of the many women - and cultures - who have met at the crossroads of the island of Puerto Rico. Unraveling of the key roots of identity in the New World, Aurora Levins Morales creates a powerful compendium for the activists who know that McDonald's and IBM are not the ultimate source of all sustenance and knowledge. Here is a history of the Western world that would overturn the rule of dead white men. Beginning with the First Mother in sub-Saharan Africa more than 200,000 years ago, Levins Morales takes readers on a journey through time and around the globe. Vibrantly drawing the lives of many remarkable women, Levins Morales delves into the lives of Juana de Asbaje, author of the "Reply to Sor Filotea" in 1693, the first feminist essay written in the New World; Gracia Nasi, Constantinople's "Queen of the Jews"; the African-American activist and warrior of words Ida B. Wells; and the unlikely martyr and symbol, Ethel Rosenberg. Levins Morales weaves in her own story of pain and healing, ameliorated by the restorative power of memory, finding within these stories of individual and communal resistance to abuse new lessons in the history of liberation. This historical memoir revives our connection to the forgotten lore of our grandmothers, featuring explanations of the medicinal properties of herbs and foods such as rosemary, ginkgo, and banana. With love, joy, and defiance, Levins Morales offers Remedios as testimony to those barely recorded or known to history, the women who shaped our world.

"Captivating language and enticing cadence are characteristics of the enchanting prose Morales employs in this gathering of uniquely realized vignettes. . . . countless tales of resilient individuals grappling with hardships in Morales' exciting melange of stories ultimately affirming the empowerment of women." —Booklist

“Re-imagining women within the global sweep, Remedios spirals out from its Puerto Rican center in prose so delicate and fierce it hurts.” —Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, author of Among the White Moon Faces

“Aurora Levins Morales's poetic gifts are in full flower in Remedios. She gives us new insights into what it means to be Puertorriqueña.” —Esmerelda Santiago, author of When I Was Puerto Rican

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