Cover Image: The Woman They Could Not Silence

The Woman They Could Not Silence

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Member Reviews

Another fantastic and fascinating book from Kate Moore. 

This ticked all the boxes for me--early feminism, part of history I know nothing about, lunatic asylums, and the mistreatment of women. 

I listened to the audio, which the author read, and it was a good production. The short chapters made this 15 hour audiobook fly by.
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Many of us have seen the graphic that circulates social media with the list of reasons women could once be institutionalized. It’s an absurd list and in the book groups I’m in, “novel reading” is often circled. People laugh. And it is funny when you don’t think too deeply upon it. Because that list is a reality. Those were reasons women could once be institutionalized. That list exemplified the lack of rights women had. That list declared that women who actually thought for themselves, showed emotions, used their imagination, or did anything else outside of the structure set for them as females could then be contained and controlled. So, while on the surface, that list may seem humorous, it’s actually quite terrifying.

Elizabeth Packard lived during a time when the beliefs that list imposed were widely practiced. Because she had spoken out about women’s rights, possessed religious beliefs that contradicted her husband’s and simply proved to have a mind of her own, her husband was legally able to have her institutionalized and declared insane.

That was the beginning of Elizabeth’s harrowing, gasp-inducing ordeal. She endured a number of institutional abuses and a painful separation from her children, while they were being conditioned to view her adversely in her absence. As the title of this book clearly conveys, that was not the end of Elizabeth’s story. 

I did appreciate that Moore included some of Elizabeth’s own misjudgements of other women when she possessed a positive perception of the male they condemned. Her mistakes show her humanness, as well as one of the many issues still prevalent in today’s society. We are often quick to dismiss claims of mistreatment when we don’t experience such mistreatment from the culprit ourselves. Fortunately, Elizabeth was able to learn from her own errors and came to fight for the very women she once misjudged. 

There is a particular short story - one I don’t want to mention by name in an effort to not spoil it for those who haven’t read it - that aptly demonstrates the disturbing effect of doing things simply because “this is the way it’s always been.” The story takes very little time to make a loud statement about not questioning practices and mob mentality. Its eerie message is evident to the reader and one might find it difficult to believe that such an absurdity could ever take place. We see it all play out in different ways again and again, however, and The Woman They Could Not Silence exemplifies this horror as a reality back in the 1800s. 

The value of the historical issue addressed in this book has not depreciated. We need to know this. And we need to recognize how those laws and toxic beliefs continue to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) influence how we behave today. Kate Moore does not shy away from clearly stating how prevalent this issue is still; how quick society is to cast doubt on a woman’s claims with this simple statement: “She’s crazy.” We must all continue to be women they cannot silence.  

I do not think a single fictional horror story exists that can outdo the things that have happened and will happen in this world. We live the ultimate terror daily. The story detailed in this book is truly a terrifying one and while it’s part of history, it’s something that did happen - something that could happen again in different ways. So, if you really want to read something that will creep you out and make you think twice about turning out the lights, read this book about men with too much power, inhumane laws, and women who are silenced through imprisonment, manipulation, and mutilation. I promise you: This is a scary book. But it’s an important one and it needs to be read. 

“We are only just beginning to appreciate exactly how a person’s powerlessness may lead to struggles with their mental health.” ~Kate Moore

“No human being can be subjected to the process to which you subject them here without being in great danger of becoming insane.” ~Elizabeth Packard

I am immensely grateful to Bibliolifestyle & Sourcebooks for my finished copy and Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for my audio review copy.
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I suspected this would be good because Radium Girls was so good, but this completely knocked my socks off. The story is amazing, and it is told well. Highly recommended.


Review copy provided by publisher.
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“She blocked out all that usually dominated and made the world stop and stare.”

Incredible true story about a woman who never gave up fighting for her truth.  In 1860, Elizabeth Packard was unjustly detained in an asylum by her husband for speaking her own mind and not sharing his beliefs.  While most people would have given up against the myriad of obstacles she faced, she never did.  Against all odds, she was not only able to secure a release from her prison, but was also legally declared sane by a jury.  Elizabeth Packard eloquently and tenaciously represented the oppressed, championing the rights of women and the mentally ill for the rest of her life.  She was responsible for several laws promoting the rights of married women and of the mentally ill.  She wrote several books about her experiences.  And she ultimately helped initiate an investigation into the abusive behaviors toward asylum patients in Jacksonville, IL.  She was a pioneer, a reformer, a hero, but mostly, a mother.

The author’s absolute passion for Elizabeth Packard comes through loud and clear.  Her book is extensively researched and comes together impeccably detailed.  While it is a work of non-fiction, the narrative and sudden twists make it read like a novel.  The content is overwhelming to the heart and forces the reader to pause and reflect on how things have changed and yet how they still remain the same.  After reading this, you will think twice before flippantly calling another person crazy again.
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Elizabeth Packard is one of my favorite feminists so I was extremely excited to find this book. Kate Moore absolutely did her story justice.

The book goes in depth from the beginning of her first confinement to the end of her life, with all of her accomplishments as a free woman. I found the outsider point of view interesting. Knowing what the doctor was writing in his files, what her friends were advocating for, and what her husband was doing back home was fascinating, especially as Packard herself didn't know any of it. That decision from the author really highlighted for me just how isolated and in the dark Packard was kept. 

Packard's story is one of injustice and anger, and I felt every emotion with her while reading this. If you call yourself a mental health advocate or a feminist then this story is an absolute must read.
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𝘗𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨!

Omg, I have no words to describe this book, what an amazing and beautifully writen story. Brutal, shocking and empowering, The Woman They Could Not Silence is a story that will stay with me for a long time. I absolutely loved Elizabeth’s story.

This is my first book from Kate Moore Author and it won’t be my last.

Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for this ALC.

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦: 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘪𝘳𝘴, 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯’𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴, 𝘣𝘢𝘥𝘢𝘴𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯, 𝘧𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘮 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴.

https://www.instagram.com/booksandcoffeemx/
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I have never been happier to be born in the current era. A time where women can speak their minds and are not prosecuted for it. This was a true story about Elizabeth Packard whose husband didn’t like that she thought for herself and spoke her mind – and thought differently than he did.  In the 1860’s men were able to send their wife to an insane asylum with very little evidence of their mental health except that she was outspoken and “different”. This is what Packard’s husband did. She was not insane, but one of the smartest women of her time. She wrote books and fought for women’s rights while in the asylum. Inside, women were often abused by the staff and if they didn’t arrive insane, many became that way because of how they were treated. Moore did an amazing job writing about Packard and using her writings to see her inner thoughts. I loved reading this book and learning about this little piece of history that helped make big changes.

If you read Moore’s other book, Radium Girls, and enjoyed it – you will love this one as well.
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Excellent book about woman's history and the way they were oppressed for merely being strong women. This is another part of history that is kind of buried and rarely talked about but should be required reading. The audiobook is very well done. I will be purchasing the hard cover edition for my local library.
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This is the second of Kate Moore's books and I enjoyed this one tremendously! Elizabeth Packard is a very interesting and relatively unknown historical figure, I am grateful to Moore for shedding light on this bold, honorable, and courageous woman. I listened to this title on audio and felt that Kate Moore as the narrator brought Elizabeth to light even more. The first several chapters were particularly engaging- I was immediately drawn into Elizabeth's struggle against her husband who plotted to get her unrightfully detained in an asylum. I believe this book demonstrates much better pacing and engagement than Moore's first book, Radium Girls. I am looking forward to her next historical topic!
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An incredible and profoundly moving narrative nonfiction account of Elizabeth Packard's fight for women's rights and mental health care in mid-19th century America. I knew women were essentially the property of their husbands and subject to their control but hearing about how Elizabeth Packard was sent to an insane asylum in 1860 simply because her husband thought she was too outspoken and claimed her to be insane was unbelievable. Even worse than her husband's treatment was the way Dr. Andrew McFarland ran the Illinois Insane Asylum. The sad thing is she was not an unusual example, what made her stand out though was that she fought back. She kept secret journals about the conditions and treatment of the other women, many who were as sane as her and later fought in the courts to change laws regarding the institutionalization of women and to get Dr. Andrew McFarland removed from his position. Kate Moore did an amazing job using first hand accounts written by Packard herself to tell this story that history has largely forgotten. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance listening copy of this great book!
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I honestly DNF'ed this book at 26% I was bored and could not imagine 10 more hours.

 The authors narration was fine though.
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Thank you @NetGalley for this audio ARC of #TheWomanTheyCouldNotSilence


Kate Moore tells the story of Elizabeth Packard who was institutionalized by her husband for insanity. Except, she was completely sane. The longer she stayed the more she fought, and not just for herself but for all women.

Wow. Just.. Wow.
This audiobook, narrated by Kate Moore herself is terrifyingly amazing. 

Following Elizabeth Packard, we learn the treatment of woman, especially married women in the 1860s+. Moore does an amazing job at telling Elizabeths story and the battles she fought for herself and for all women.

This is a book that should be taught in schools when high schoolers learn about history.
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Well I am now properly and rightly enraged. It’s seems that Kate Moore isn’t going to shy away from writing the stories of badass women that history wronged. I thought that The Radium Girls was infuriating, I had no idea how much angrier this book would make me. 

This is the story of Elizabeth Packard and her garbage husband who was intimidated by her intelligence so claimed she was insane and had her committed to an asylum. Only for her to discover that the asylum is just full of perfectly sane women who’s husbands didn’t want to deal with them anymore. The torture and abuse these women went through was horrendous and the amount of injustices and blatant lies they were told is unfortunately not as appalling as it should be. This book embodies the whole “nasty woman” mentality and it’s brutal and incredibly empowering seeing how many times Packard was shoved down only to  pick herself back up and keep trying. And yet have you ever heard of her? Probably not. 

The perseverance this woman had to continually keep trying to have her voice heard speaks volumes of how suppressed women have been and yet still keep screaming. I got chills, I cried, I raged, I did victory laps, this book brought out so many visceral reactions. And yet it’s another piece of history that no one knows about simply because it’s a woman’s story. The post script at the end really gut punches you with how far we think we’ve come with feminism only to realize we’re still dealing with the same struggles and same suppression she went through. This is yet another story that I want to put in everyone’s hands and will recommend relentlessly.
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“From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman hero whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women's rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.”

It was a fascinating listen - I was humbled by the fact that I had not known about Elizabeth Packard before reading about this book and I saw quite a few parallels to @chrisbohjalian newest book “Hour Of The Witch” set in 1662, this one is a nonfiction set two hundred years later and nobody is accusing Elizabeth Packard of witchcraft but since her religious views diverge from her husband’s she is sent to an insane asylum and committed.

This is a well-researched, eye opening and powerful book about a woman who fought for justice and human rights against the prejudice and discrimination that faced women in the eyes of the law, society and politics. Elizabeth Packard’s name needs to be remembered for her life, legacy and the countless lives she saved and this book is a beautiful portrait that recognises and celebrates her journey.

Narration by the author and it definitely kept me engaged and listening ! Absolutely fascinating !
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This was such an intense and interesting read. Elizabeth’s story was one that I was not aware of previously but it illuminated even more the mistreatment of woman and the “insane” in America history. This book definitely brought to light issues that were thankfully addressed by Elizabeth but that is also an issue of current women. This is a book for anyone who wants a look into womens right, asylums, resiliency, and a mother’s love. 
While I did enjoy the narrators voice, I did have to speed up the audio to listen to.
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I was given the opportunity to get an early listen to this book thanks to NetGalley in exchange for my honest review 

This book tells the true story of Elizabeth Packard, a pioneer in the 1800’s for women’s rights. Going up against a system she seemingly didn’t stand a chance with, yet still made so much progress in the field of women’s rights. Yet still when you look at things today the same issues exist. It’s default to try to immediately discredit women but making them seem “crazy”
So we have come so far yet we haven’t. 
This book was phenomenal and I highly recommend it 
While I had known of Elizabeth Packard I didn’t have a clue how much work and advocacy she did every single day of her life. I’m so happy to have read this. So happy to continue her work in present day
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Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

Kate Moore never disappoints! I love how she tells the story of forgotten women in history - and inspiring people to care about them. For those of you who liked her book The Radium Girls, you'll like this one too. In her newest novel, Kate Moore tackles the injustice of women wrongly institutionalized during the American Civil War and one woman's resilient fight for justice. Even though the book is set during the 18000's, Kate does a really nice job tying the story into current events today and why we should care. I learned a lot and highly recommend this book to others.
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I really enjoyed this book narrated more than I did reading it and I was even more impressed that the author was the narrator. She has a calming but not boring voice and she adds passion into her voice that emphasizes the parts she really wanted to bring more emotion to. Though I still think the book could have used more editing and was tedious at points, I actually enjoyed listening to it more than reading it.
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I want to start out by saying the I read 'Radium Girls,' by Kate Moore and ADORED it, so I had high expectations for this book. Luckily, I was not let down.

Moore is fantastic at taking a non-fiction topic, and turning it into a flowing story. Her latest work focuses on the life of Elizabeth Packard, who are outspoken in a time when it was not acceptable. Not only that, but she dared to stand against her husband. What follows is Elizabeth's journey into a psychiatric facility in Illinois. Her we are faced with the horror that is many rational women locked up under the pretense of being 'crazy.'

If you are interested in a non-fiction, feminist story, or you just enjoy the work of Kate Moore, make sure to check this one out.
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Book review: 
Written in a similar style as the author’s earlier, Radium Girls, this nonfiction book tells the story of a woman held against her will in an asylum. The subject of many literary storylines, this book gives a true account.
Audiobook review: The author reads her own work. In this case, I feel that a professional narrator would have served this book better. The narration is quite slow and the author as a heavy accent combining to make this an audiobook that I would not recommend.
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