• The Woman They Could Not Silence

  • One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear
  • By: Kate Moore
  • Narrated by: Kate Moore
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Elizabeth Packard was an ordinary Victorian housewife and mother of six. That was, until the first Woman’s Rights Convention was held in 1848, inspiring Elizabeth and many other women to dream of greater freedoms. She began voicing her opinions on politics and religion – opinions that her husband did not share. Incensed and deeply threatened by her growing independence, he had her declared ‘slightly insane’ and committed to an asylum.

Inside the Illinois State Hospital, Elizabeth found many other perfectly lucid women who, like her, had been betrayed by their husbands and incarcerated for daring to have a voice. But just because you are sane, doesn’t mean that you can escape a madhouse....

Fighting the stigma of her gender and her supposed madness, Elizabeth embarked on a ceaseless quest for justice. It not only challenged the medical science of the day and saved untold others from suffering her fate, it ultimately led to a giant leap forward in human rights the world over.

©2021 Kate Moore (P)2021 Blackstone Audio

Critic Reviews

"Kate Moore has a rare gift for combining impeccable research and brilliantly mesmerizing storytelling." (Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today best-selling author of The First to Lie and Her Perfect Life)

"I have waited fifty years for this full-length biography of Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, and Kate Moore's The Woman They Could Not Silence is simply magnificent." (Phyllis Chesler, best-selling author and feminist leader)

"In Moore's expert hands, this beautifully-written tale unspools with drama and power, and puts Elizabeth Packard on the map at the most relevant moment imaginable." (Liza Mundy, New York Times best-selling author of Code Girls)

What listeners say about The Woman They Could Not Silence

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-26-22

Strongly recommend

Brilliant and eye opening book. Definitely recommend reading this to find out how far things have come but also to see how far there is still to go.

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  • Ms. C. R. Thomas
  • 03-23-22

interesting story but...

interesting story but too much repetition and descriptive language about how she 'might' have felt rather than focusing on facts and quotes from her book.

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  • V. Rhone
  • 02-26-22

Amazing when fact is a compelling story

Absolutely loved listening to this story of Elizabeth Packard. A true visionary on par with the likes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Thank goodness she was not silenced. Kate Moore brings the story to life in a compelling way and her passion shines through. Inspiring.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-10-22

I was so intrigued at the start

I’m afraid I was disappointed with this book. The story itself is very interesting and I don’t regret listening to it but I felt the way it was phrased took away from its content. Over the top of similes, as if a school aged child is told to improve upon a plain sentence, too much “a woman couldn’t possibly this, a woman would never this” style wording. I appreciate that in the era this was the case but the way it came across, it sounded bitter rather than informative. I felt the narrator put too much intonation into the text, which again almost made it sound bitter rather than a recount of evidence. I think if the book was read rather than listened to, some of these issues would not be there. Overall informative and clearly a lot of research went into the writing.

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  • Steph H
  • 12-30-21

Absolutely brilliant

A truly excellent book, very well written and incredibly detailed. Although no references specifically were included in the book in audio format, it would seem that a lot of this was evidence given at first hand by letter and/or journal form, and would also have included perhaps Doctors notes and court transcripts.

Astonishing revelations, I knew that women had been put into insane asylums because of perceived emotional disorders by their husbands and family members. What I did not know was that there were clitoradectomy's carried out as a part of the "treatement". My naivety was that female genital mutilation was something that was a cultural/quasi religious occurrence. However it seems that it was propagated by so called psychiatrists in London and in America as a way to treat "hysterical" women, and children, even very young children.

I am not a bra burning feminist, but this makes me sick and angry, "man's inhumanity to (wo)man" knows no bounds.

Infuriatingly so many of the men in this book used the bible as their defence, and as is usual and happens just as often today, they clearly have not read and understood their bibles. The honor that God gives to women and the instruction on how they should be "cherished" and "loved" and "cared for" is completely ignored because men always focus on "obedience".

The further inhumane treatment dealt out in the asylum was not perhaps surprising, but still horrific just the same.

The determination of this woman was incredible, I honestly don't know if I could have put up the fight that she did. How after so much awful treatment and betrayal by those she should have been able to trust she did not question her own sense of reality is astonishing.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

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  • S. Christie
  • 10-03-21

Has much changed?

A very inspiring account of the persecution of one woman at the hands of those who should have cherished her.

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  • Jill.M
  • 09-16-21

Fantastic, a true story that deserves to be told.

I heard about this on Radio 4 Women's Hour and knew I had to read it. Kate manages to combine actual diary entries, testimonies and other reference documents with connecting prose that turns this book from a non fiction account into a wonderful and compelling story. I was left shocked at how recent these events were in our history and saddened by the fact that for many women around the world suppression of intellect and free thought is still very much a reality.

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  • Michelle Collins
  • 09-14-21

Interesting listen

Beautifully narrated by the author. Some of the initial chapters are quite lengthy as there is just so much information for the story to relay to really grasp the lengths and depths of the courageous struggle Elizabeth went through. Really interesting story, didn’t want it to end.

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  • Linda M
  • 08-25-21

Crazy women are made by crazy men !

Listened based on a recommendation on FB and glad I did. Obviously well researched, at times the telling seemed a little too dragged out and torturous but I guess that helped one empathize with her ordeal. It would be consoling to think such behaviours were consigned to history but looking at the plight of women around the world (most notably at this time in Afghanistan), we know sadly it is not.

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  • Lynn
  • 07-13-21

Excellent book

I loved this very interesting book. I had never heard of Elizabeth Packard and was amazed to find out about her life and important role she played in reforming the rights of women and asylum patients. Wonderfully narrated by the author, it was a very enjoyable listen