"An engaging, relevant and sweeping chronicle of women’s fight for equality in the United States. Books of true feminist history are rare. Rarer still are these histories intersectional; feminist history tends to be synonymous with white women’s history. Not this book. Griffith delivers a multiracial, inclusive timeline of the struggles and triumphs of both Black and white women in America. A profoundly illuminating tour de force."
– New York Times Book Review
"This is an intersectional account of what it has meant to be a woman in America for the past century. Griffith forces us to consider the complexity of women and acknowledge that we have been 'oppressors, progressives, enslaved, activists, adversaries and allies.' Griffith has found the words for us and does an exemplary job of showing how women have always discovered ways to be powerful, regardless of obstacles."
– Connie Schultz, The Washington
"Formidable is an essential history of the one-hundred-year struggle between 1920 and 2020 by both Black and white women in America to achieve their equal rights. Griffith surveys the successes and setbacks that remained relevant and pressing across the century: voting rights, racial violence, health care, reproductive rights, working conditions, education, race, and gender discrimination, electoral office. Through her comprehensive survey of the people, events, and movements that marked this history, she highlights the women, and men, who were both pushing for change and those who resisted it. The final outcome of that struggle is not yet decided."
– Hillary Rodham Clinton
“Griffith is a consummate storyteller, combining research and riveting narrative to keep alive the political and social struggle for equal rights by American women front and center. Readers will be caught up in the heroism and resilience of this diverse cast of characters. Griffith magnificently covered the early campaign for suffrage, from Seneca Falls to 1920, in her first book, which helped to make our film about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony—Not for Ourselves Alone. Now she carries that story forward to 2020, as Black and white women confront yet another set of obstacles and objectives.”
– Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker
"Historian Griffith proves herself up to the formidable task she sets forth to achieve in this thorough and thoughtful look at a century of change — which she cautions might seem more radical than it actually is, given how long it’s taken to realize the demands of early feminists of all races. The author gives a great deal of attention to intersectionality and specific identities and interests, taking care to note that the fight doesn’t belong to any one group."
– Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times
"Author and historian Elisabeth Griffith offers an unprecendented survey of the women's suffrage movement that masterfully intertwines two paralle crusades for justice, those of Black and white women. Beginning with the certification of the 19th Amendment and concluding with the 2020 presidential election, Formidable explains the complexities, nuances, and challenges of the fight for women's equality over the last century. Weaving together the separate and sometimes competing aspirations of Black and white women, Griffith provides the missing link in a crucial story of women's rights in contemporary America. Finally, we have one book that brings together American women in their many dimensions and complexities in one informative and compelling narrative."
– Lissa Muscatine, co-owner of Politics & Prose Bookstore, former chief speechwriter to Hillary Rodham Clinton
"Griffith, the author of a biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, offers an encyclopedic overview of women’s advocacy for issues they believed crucial to their lives. Griffith follows women’s lives decade by decade, identifying important figures in politics, social movements, popular culture, and the arts who inspired or incited change, from Ida Wells-Barnett to Hilary Clinton, Carrie Chapman Catt to Stacey Abrams. A hefty, thoroughly researched contribution to women’s history."
– Kirkus Reviews
Historian and women’s-rights activist Griffith (In Her Own Right, 1984) provides an engrossing, extremely detailed survey of the rights women have both gained and lost from 1920 to 2020. This well-researched tome opens with the suffrage movement and runs through the civil-rights era to modern movements such as #MeToo. Women’s rights are examined decade by decade through a myriad of lenses, including political movements, pop-culture representation, civil rights, war, economics, and health care. The formation of united fronts in pursuit of change is delved into, as is the fragmentation of movements as various avenues and causes are pursued, sometimes putting activists at odds. Women of all walks of life and of every race and culture—whether Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Jewish, lesbian, working class, or upper class—are examined and extolled in the long fight for women’s rights in America. This is a perfect text for feminists, activists, and readers of history and sociology.
"In Formidable, Elisabeth Griffith relates how American women have approached political activism in the last century. The interplay between racism and sexism, Griffith argues, has also always been central to women’s fight for equality, even before the term “intersectionality” was coined. The women’s movement is a flawed, complex entity that will continue to boost American women far into the future, argues Formidable, an overview of the diversity of American women and their role in political history."
– Foreword Reviews