Friedan wrote the 1963 blockbuster The Feminine Mystique. Smith added “sex” to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 1965, Murray wrote the first legal analysis comparing Jim Crow to gender discrimination. With the benefit of hindsight, this unwitting but timely partnership can be seen as the launchpad of the second wave feminist movement, a movement synonymous with the National Organization for Women, or NOW.
Katherine Turk’s The Women of NOW is a fascinating account of the foundational organization that for many decades served as the central tentpole of this multifaceted movement. Despite the hundreds of books that make up the rich canon of modern women’s history, Turk has done a much-needed service, writing the first full history of NOW.
A professor at the University of North Carolina at Chape Hill, Turk devoted 20 years, beginning with her undergraduate thesis, to telling this complex story.