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Gansler, Laura Leedy 1958–

Gansler, Laura Leedy 1958–

PERSONAL: Born 1958; married Douglas F. Gansler (a lawyer); children: two sons. Education: Graduated from Harvard University; University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1989.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Lawyer. Formerly served as adjunct law professor, American University, Washington, DC.

WRITINGS:

(With others) Shareholder Derivative Litigation: Besieging the Board, Law Journal Seminars Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Clara Bingham) Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.

The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier (biography), Free Press (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Laura Leedy Gansler attended Harvard University, then went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1989. She served as an adjunct law professor at the American University prior to entering practice as a lawyer specializing in alternative dispute resolution and securities law. In addition to her achievements as a lawyer, Gansler is also the author or coauthor of several books.

Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law, which Gansler co-wrote with journalist Clara Bingham, recounts the events of the groundbreaking case that set precedent for individuals seeking to sue under a class action for sexual harassment in the workplace. The story revolves around the lead plaintiff in the suit, Lois Jenson, a single mother of two who in 1975 began working in a Minnesota iron mine in a position traditionally held by a man. After suffering from relentless sexual harassment from her coworkers, she fought the system, suing and eventually winning in her battle against the mine. Nola Theiss, in a review for Kliatt, remarked that "this book gives life to the victims and exposes the conditions under which they worked." Writing for the Women's Review of Books, Alice Kessler-Harris commented that "if you have ever wanted to understand the painstaking way that law develops on the backs of individuals; if you have ever been curious about the human cost of legal progress—this is the book to read." She added that "it reads like a detective story" and is "told in riveting detail." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews found the book to be "detailed but not dense: a sturdy addition to the literature of social justice and contemporary women's issues."

Gansler continues to address the efforts of women fighting traditional gender roles in her book The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier. In it, Gansler tells the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, a young woman who left home at the age of seventeen to escape her father's plans to marry her off, and lived as a man for two years before going on to join the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. She successfully fought under the guise of a man as part of the Second Michigan Infantry, and only after the end of the war did she return to life as a female, eventually marrying. Later, she became the first woman to garner a soldier's pension for her service during the war. Margaret Flanagan, in a review for Booklist, found the biography "well worth checking out."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier, p. 1986.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law, p. 538; July 1, 2005, review of The Mysterious Private Thompson, p. 717.

Kliatt, May, 2004, Nola Theiss, review of Class Action, p. 36.

Law and Social Inquiry, summer, 2004, review of Class Action, p. 699.

Library Journal, June 1, 2002, Cynthia Harrison, review of Class Action, p. 172.

Publishers Weekly, May 13, 2002, review of Class Action, p. 60.

Time, June 24, 2002, Michele Orecklin, review of Class Action, p. 70.

Women's Review of Books, November, 2002, Alice Kessler-Harris, "The High Cost of Progress," review of Class Action, p. 1.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (November 20, 2005), "Laura Leedy Gansler," Toni Fitzgerald, review of Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law.

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