• 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
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (863 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.

The year 1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of 21 years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened - by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: They’ve been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line - conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom, and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose....

Best-selling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, a story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom - and in so doing freed millions more. Elizabeth’s refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: Sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.

©2021 Kate Moore (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

Critic Reviews

LibraryReads Pick, 2021

What listeners say about The Woman They Could Not Silence

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Must Read.

I had never heard about Elizabeth Packard but thanks to Kate Moore I now know what an amazing woman she was. Everyone should read this book. Kate Moore did a wonderful job of researching her material and did an excellent job reading her book. British accent or not.

I would be interested to know why no American author had chosen to write about Elizabeth’s life and her fight for the rights of women. My blood was boiling from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

7 people found this helpful

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Affected me so much I can’t write a review

This book has torn my world apart. Had I been born 100 years earlier, my ex-husband would have done this to me. Thank God for Elizabeth Packard - a woman I will NEVER forget.

5 people found this helpful

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read this NOW

Book pick of the week. SERIOUSLY! This needs to be on everyone's list. It tells the true story of Elizabeth Packard's unjustified commitment to the Illinois state hospital, her fight for freedom, and her crusade to better the conditions for both women and mental health patients. She was decades ahead of her time. This book took me on an emotional Rollercoaster and gave me chills.

5 people found this helpful

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Everyone should read this!

How is it I had never heard of this women? By the end of the book it becomes apparent why I had not heard about her… for the same reason we don’t hear about so many women who have done great things throughout history. This story is and should be a reminder of all women have at stake if their rights are taken away as they have been recently in Texas. The slippery slope of that control over the rights of women, the slippery slope of women’s lost rights are nothing to make light of. Look to other countries to see how easily things go backwards… look to our own country for how equal rights are not really established except in name and ideals only. That saying “We’ve come a long way baby” should continue and say “but we still have a long way to go”

4 people found this helpful

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Why does the reader have a British accent?

I am enjoying the book, but I am really confused as to why the reader is speaking with a British accent when the book takes place in Illinois (US).

3 people found this helpful

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Her Song Unsung For Too Long, Yet She Persisted & She Overcame

I have listened r::4twice to this well-written biography of mid-19th century activist Elizabeth Packard. Beautifully narrated by the Author, this book is a synopsis of Mental Health & Women's Rights struggles during & immediately post-the U.S. Civil War. Those diagnosed as "INSANE" were committed by husbands, held against their will for indefinite terms & tortured by incompetent staff (e.g. waterboarded). A Wife in Illinois (& many other States) held the same status under their Husband as did a Slave to their Slaveowner; they were legal property. Even today, cities & landmarks remain named after Scoundrels who colluded to keep Women & Slaves from autonomy & power over Self.

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Narration distracting

OMG. The author’s narration was incredibly distracting. “Chewberculosis” and other strange pronunciations. She’s overly dramatic as well. Meh

1 person found this helpful

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women with opinions are not crazy

This book is a fantastic portrayal of one woman's fight for a female independence from their husbands. Husbands could lock their wives up in psychiatric hospitals just for having their own opinions. Elizabeth Packard did incredible things for women's rights in our country. The post script is incredible. it brings this history into the way women are treated even in 2021.

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Woah….

Listening to this on the tails of Roe V. Wade being repealed. Woah! The author does a phenomenal job of telling this story. Wasn’t slow, but biographical. Read by the author. I would highly recommend listening if you like history and want an insight to women’s rights.

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A must listen

I happened to listen to this audiobook during the same days as Roe v. Wade was overturned in the United States never was there a better timing to read this book my heart breaks for the women in America and the women around the world this is a must listen lest we forget