Press & Reviews

MHAHelen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement is an award-winning book, having won the IRWIN (Industry Recognition of Writers In the News) Award for Best Pop Culture Book of the Year, presented October 15, 2015 at The Sportsman Lodge, Studio City, CA. It also received the 2015 Prize for Best Biography from the Mormon History Association at the MHA’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Provo, Utah.

Here’s what reviewers and readers are saying about the book:

Kirkus Cover Fall 2015“… A fascinating study of an icon and the era that created her.”
—Kirkus Reviews; to read the review as published in their August 2015 issue click here,
click here to see the review on the Kirkus Reviews website. 




Utah-Quarterly-cover“… a timely and insightful book for anyone interested in the continued debates over gender roles.”
Charlotte Hansen Terry, University of Utah, Utah Historical Quarterly




“Exceptionally well researched, impressively written, deftly organized and presented, Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement is a seminal work of original scholarship and a very highly prized addition for community and academic library Women’s Studies, Women’s History, and American 20th Century History reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.”

—Helen Dumont, Midwest Book Review

“Up until ten days ago, I’d never even heard of Fascinating Womanhood, a how-to-save-your-marriage manual-cum-lifestyle popularized by a Mormon housewife in the early 60s. Thanks to historian and author Julie Debra Neuffer, that situation has now been rectified. Neuffer’s new book, Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement, gives an unprecedented look into the personal experiences and social/political climate that spurred Andelin’s pursuit of an antidote for divorce, the growth of her idea into an international enterprise, and the supposed enemies she made along the way…”

—Jessie Jensen (; read the full review here.

 “There is much to be learned in this clearly written, sympathetic account of Helen Andelin’s Fascinating Womanhood. This is a book that reveals that there is another side to women’s history that needs to be explored by scholars.”

—Donald Critchlow, professor, Arizona State University,
and author of Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism and When Hollywood Was Right

“Neuffer’s analysis of the various aspects of the Andelin/Friedan conflict and what they reveal about the fragmenting and turbulent women’s movement during the 1970s is outstanding.”

—Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of Lucy’s book: A Critical Edition of Lucy mack Smith’s Family Memoir

“What a book! If like me you have ever wondered how and why the counter-feminist movement ‘ticks,’ and why it is still ticking to this day, this book is for you. Reading feminist authors is preaching to the choir in my world. Reading authors who tell me that my happiness is to be found in the home, husband and children isn’t the way I was raised nor does it bear any relation to how I live my life so reading about the women who tell you this is the secret to either a successful marriage (‘Domestic Goddess’ is the term that Andelin employs) or relationships is ‘fascinating’.

“I had no idea until I read this book that Roseanne Barr (who is well known for sarcastically referring to herself as a ‘Domestic Goddess’), actually got this from her own mother who went to ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ classes in Utah. I had always wondered about Barr’s use of the term and this book finally answers that question…”

—Lisa E., Amazon reviewer; to read her full review, click here.

“Erich Fromm wrote his classic work, Escape from Freedom, in 1941. His work was primarily concerned with how readily individuals are willing to surrender their ‘freedom,’ that is, the hard task of evaluating options, and making choices, and allowing someone else to do it for you. In particular, the catalyst for this work was the readiness of his fellow Germans to submit to a totalitarian regime which had ‘the answers.’ In Fromm’s words: ‘Escape from Freedom attempts to show modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not a free man but an automaton.’

“Helen Andelin preached a version of ‘escape from freedom’ to women, in particular wives. Admittedly, somehow in my ‘own little world,’ I had never heard of Helen Andelin, even though her message impacted the lives of, literally, millions. I had been considering a re-read of Betty Friedan’s classic work The Feminine Mystique when I was offered this work to review. And I am very glad I chose this one instead of the re-read, although Friedan is still on my list.

“Julie Neuffer has made the life of Helen Andelin accessible, to her followers, her opponents, as well as those who were obliviously in their own little worlds. It is an important work of scholarship. Is Neuffer for Andelin’s message, or against it? After completing this work, I still do not know, and that is a key litmus test as to her objectivity in walking through this very political mine field…”

—John P. Jones III, Top 1000 Amazon reviewer; read the full review here.

“I found Neuffer’s history of the Fascinating Womanhood movement to be thorough and meticulously documented; not only was it well written with regard to research and style, though, it was also a work of edutainment. I eagerly flipped through the pages and finished the book within a couple days of starting it.

“…I think Neuffer did an excellent job pointing out the good in the Fascinating Womanhood movement while still portraying the facts, many of which may seem silly or even ridiculous to the modern day reader. In my opinion, Andelin was an extremist. Therefore, Neuffer’s accurate portrayal of the events and decisions in Andelin’s life do not always paint a pretty picture. Despite this, Neuffer succeeded in writing a history that was sympathetic to Andelin and her movement as well as historically accurate.”

—Michelle S. Webb, Amazon customer; read the full review here.