In the last several decades, U.S. women's history has come of age. Not only have historians challenged the national narrative on the basis of their rich explorations of the personal, the social, the economic, and the political. They have entered into dialogues with each other over the meaning of women's history itself. In this collection of seventeen original essays on women's lives from the colonial period to the present, contributors take the competing forces of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and region into account. They examine, for example, how conceptions of gender shaped immigration officials' attitudes towards East Asian immigrants; how race and gender inequality pervaded the welfare state; and how color and class shaped Mexican American women's mobilization for civil and labor rights. Reading the past with all of the messiness, contradictions, and excitement inherent in real life, this book is a provocative meditation on the state of the field.