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Chapter 5 documents the culmination of U.S. tensions within both feminism and the book industry. Faced with chain bookstores and publishers making illegal deals that would put independent bookstores out of business, bookwomen put their substantial feminist literary activist skills to work and effected an astounding, though temporary, success within the industry. As the Feminist Bookstore Network turned toward more mainstream activism, white bookwomen in leadership turned away from a daily practice of lesbian antiracist feminist accountability. The devastating cost was a simplified public identity for feminist bookwomen and the loss of the vital difficult conversations about race and feminism that the transnational network had required over the previous two decades. This chapter reads a legacy of grappling with accountability and alliance building, rather than the survival of a few feminist bookstores, as the success of the feminist bookstore movement.

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