Shana Penn

Shana Penn

December 2nd, 2005

Solidarity’s Secret: the Women who
Defeated Communism in Poland

Shana Penn, a Visiting Scholar at Mills College in Oakland, CA, is
the author of several books including Solidarity’s Secret: The Women
Who Defeated Communism in Poland
(University of Michigan Press,
Spring 2005), The Women’s Guide to the Wired World (Feminist
Press, 1997) and The Underground of Women (Warsaw, Rosner,
2003). Currently she is working on a book about the reemergence of
Jewish cultural expression in contemporary Poland.

At present,
Penn directs a philanthropic program, the Jewish Heritage Initiative in
Poland, for the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, in San
Francisco. She has also held the positions of Media Relations Director
at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, Program Director
at the International Museum of Women in San Francisco, and she is a
board member of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

About Shana Penn’s book…

Solidarity’s Secret: The Women
Who Defeated Communism in Poland
(University of Michigan Press,
Spring 2005)is the first book to record the crucial yet little-known
role women played in the rise of an independent press in Poland and in
the fall of that country’s communist government. Piecing together a
decade of interviews with the women behind the Polish pro-democracy
movement – women whose massive contributions were obscured by the more
public successes of their male counterparts, Penn reveals the story of
how these brave women ran Solidarity and the main opposition newspaper,
Tygodnik Mazowsze, while prominent men like Lech Wałęsa were
underground or in jail during the 1980s martial law years. The same
women then went on to play in influential roles in post-communist
Poland. Solidarity’s Secret gives us a richly detailed
story-within-a-story – unheard of not only in the West, but until
recently even within Poland itself – from one of the most important eras
in modern history.