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Book Reviews ‘Women From the Ankle Down' by Rachelle Bergstein

An Air Warrior and devotee of Lord Krishna has published over 120 short stories and 15 books on fiction and 4 on military history.



Rachelle Bergstein is an American author. She was born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1981. While in school she worked at a local café and used her tips to buy books and vintage clothing. She graduated in 2003 from Vassar College. Her subject was English literature. While in college she won many awards for her academic writing. After graduation, she worked as a cocktail waitress before landing a literary job. Presently she is an editorial consultant for a literary agency in NYC. She published her first book titled ‘Women from the Ankle Down’ on 29, 2012.


The Book

The book "Women from the Ankle Down” is in reality a history of women’s shoes in America. Bergstein in her book covers the last one hundred years. She has an obsession with shoes and writes with passion on the subject. She claims that women’s shoes are a clue to the identity and character of a woman. In justifying her claim, she takes the reader through the history of women’s shoes in the twentieth century.

As per Bergstein, the onset of the twentieth century was a sad time for women. Mass scale production had not started and all shoes were hand-stitched. This reflected in very few styles being marketed and the only colors available were black and white. Most women could just afford one or two pairs of shoes. Only the affluent had the means to own a large number of shoes. Generally, a poor woman wore her shoe for years.

With the advent of the Second World War, many women replaced men in the work force in factories.. Steel which was required for the heels was rationed. Bergstein brings out the fact that in 1943 the War production Board restricted American women to just three pairs of leather and rubber soled shoes in a year.

The end of the war saw the lifting of these restrictions and women had for the first time access to a variety of shoes. In addition, mass production of shoes resulted in lowering of prices and shoes became available to ordinary women. This was the time when fashion magazines appeared and shoes became a hot commodity.

The French designer Roger Vivier introduced the stiletto heel and fashion came into vogue. Stilettos were perilous to walk, but women liked them and their sale grew

The sixties and seventies were a revolutionary time for women. More women ventured out of the confines of their home and heels came into fashion. In fact, the 1975 guide "Dress for Success" advised a businesswoman to wear simple closed-toe pumps with 1.5-inch heels

With women taking to sports and running in a big way, Reebok in the eighties brought out the first sports shoes for women. This was a brilliant idea and soon women were wearing them for aerobics as well as for trips to the market and the parks.

Ms. Bergstein devotes an entire chapter to the role of the shoe in the television series "Sex and the City," which ran from 1998 to 2004. Ms. Bergstein displays her knowledge in the book and unknown facts like the invention of the cork-bottomed wedge by Salvatore Ferragamo and the high heels relation to orgasm are beautifully brought out.

This book by Rachelle Bergstein deserves credit. It’s a lovely book and makes good reading.


The end

Rachelle also writes for Fresh Yarn, The Awl, and Slice Magazine. I will give her credit for writing on unusual subjects. Everybody writes on love and romance, but very few on the topic chosen by Rachelle. She is also the writer of the book "Brilliance and Fire', which she published in 2016. This book is a fascinating cultural biography of the diamond. She focuses on diamonds from the nineteenth century onward. It's another wonderful book on non-fiction.

Rachelle is now 39 and classifies herself as a Middle Eastern American. Her political affiliation is currently a registered Democrat, and her religious views are listed as Jewish. Currently, Rachelle is single and resides in Brooklyn.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 05, 2021:

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Rodric, thank you, so nice you commented.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on June 05, 2021:

I couldn't help myself, emge. The title is so delicious to my intellect. Your review is refreshing and points away from politics.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 04, 2021:

Rodric, thank you for sparing time and giving your valuable comment.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on June 03, 2021:

This review piqued my interest in the book. I am not a reader of this type of non-fiction, but I believe my interests need to diversify. Thanks to your article I am one step closer to venturing away from the common. I thought this was a political or religious book, but am intrigued that it studies or portrays the female experience through the cladding of their feet! Great review.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 02, 2021:

Lady Dazy, so nice you commented.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 02, 2021:

Thank you, Devika for a welcome comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 02, 2021:

emge this is an interesting and well-crafted review about this fascinating woman.

Lady Dazy from UK on June 02, 2021:

This is a good subject for a book, we all love our shoes.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on June 01, 2021:

Thank you Chitra, for your comment

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 31, 2021:

Sounds like an interesting author. I wasn’t aware about a book regarding women’s shoes. Thinking of this, this is a good topic to ponder about. Love the book cover. I am interested to read this.

Thank you for sharing.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 31, 2021:

Gyanendra, all the best.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 31, 2021:

Linda, thank you for commenting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 31, 2021:

The writer and the books that you’ve described sound very interesting. I’ve never heard of Rachelle Bergstein before. Thanks for introducing her to me.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 31, 2021:

Happy Monday, Bill!

I'm learning every Monday from you and other Hubers. Mr. Happy has asked you the questions. Those were the questions in my mind. How to create suspence. But I had no gut to ask you. Because I'm still crowling in the world of writing. Howerlver, I feel inspired when I read your articles and there are many more here whose articles I read repeatedly. I'm blessed.

Thank you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 31, 2021:

Thanks, Bill, one of my RAF officer friends gave me the book to read and I enjoyed it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2021:

Thanks for the book review. What an interesting woman? What interesting topics, although, at first glance, it doesn't seem like a book about shoes would be interesting at all. I just might give this book a read now that I'm curious about it.

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