by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
Publisher: Perigree Trade
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source: sent by author and publisher
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
Throughout history women have caused wars, defied the rules, and brought men to their knees. The famous and the infamous, queens, divorcées, actresses, and outlaws have created a ruckus during their lifetimes-turning heads while making waves. Scandalous Women tells the stories of the risk takers who have flouted convention, beaten the odds, and determined the course of world events.
• When Cleopatra (69 BC-30 BC) wasn't bathing in asses' milk, the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and forged an important political alliance with Rome against her enemies-until her dalliance with Marc Antony turned the empire against her.
• Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1748), a mathematician, physicist, author, and paramour of one of the greatest minds in France, Voltaire, shocked society with her unorthodox lifestyle and intellectual prowess-and became a leader in the study of theoretical physics in France at a time when the sciences were ruled by men.
• Long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1928) fought to end discrimination and the terrible crime of lynching and helped found the NAACP, but became known as a difficult woman for her refusal to compromise and was largely lost in the annals of history.
• Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) had a passion for archaeology and languages, and left her privileged world behind to become one of the foremost chroniclers of British imperialism in the Middle East, and one of the architects of the modern nation of Iraq.
This book proves that truth is stranger than fiction! I loved reading about women's side of history, and not just the boxed-in views of women that history books teach us. These women are real, flaws and all.
There is a broad range of historical eras represented here. Some of the women are ones that I've gobbled up stories about for years, like Cleopatra. Some women I thought I knew, like Joan of Arc, but she's turned out to be even more fascinating and inspiring than I thought. Others, I knew nothing about until reading his book, but I'm glad I know them now.
The book doesn't just focus on the positive side of scandalous women's stories either. Some stories are sad, and some are even cringe-worthy, and you'll be glad the scandals didn't happen to you. But these stories can be inspiring too, just by knowing that we aren't alone in our struggles and that we too can overcome obstacles like these women did.
I liked the conversational style of writing, but some of the comparisons and slang may be outdated in a few years. There is so much information packed into this book, I may have enjoyed it more if I had just read small bits at a time. Each woman's story is only a few pages long, and complete in itself, so maybe I should have spread out reading them to be able to enjoy each story more.
Bottom Line: This book is an eye-opening look at 'herstory' and has a spot on my keeper shelf!