Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon. Perigee, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-53645-8
From its opening sentence—"Scandalous Women isn't history, it's herstory," Mahon sets a tone of whimsical accessibility that will be appealing to some and repellent to others. Most of the historical women covered here are discussed largely in the context of the men in their lives, from Anne Boleyn to Frida Kahlo to the brilliant mathematician and physicist Émilie du Chatelet, who is first identified as "Voltaire's mistress." The book's blog-beginnings reveal themselves most in tone; few will mistake this for serious history. Eleanor of Aquitaine's accomplishments are described as "not bad for a broad in her seventies"; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are called "the Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag of the Jazz Age." This is Feminist History for Dummies, with a snappy no-frills style that allows the author to cover ground and bring in lesser-known females like Carry Nation, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1900, who busted bars to bits with an axe and inspired others to do the same. As a crash course in women's history, readers could do worse. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-47881-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-47047-3
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