Ladies of the Field: Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure

Amanda Adams, Greystone (PGW, dist.), $17.95 paper with flaps (240p) ISBN 978-1-55365-433-9
Agatha Christie is perhaps the most well-known of the captivating women in this collection; her novels gained an exoticism from her postdivorce Middle Eastern archeological work. Adams (A Mermaid's Tale: A Personal Search for Love and Lore) traipses through archeology's early days to find seven significant pioneers who balanced their passions for potsherds, early culture, and humanity's origins with the more conventional Victorian and early 20th-century expectations of upper-class American and European women. Jane Dieulafoy, by contrast, who had dressed as a man to fight alongside her husband in the Franco-Prussian War, continued her cross-dressing for comfort's sake as the couple traveled in Persia. Family-financed, these adventurous women advanced archeology in sites as diverse as Mexico, Iraq, and Egypt, and Adams recounts their exploits in a cheerfully casual tone (Adams's descriptively good-humored prose ensures that each biographical chapter can be easily digested alone or taken as a whole in its chronological presentation). Full of well-researched facts, these tales of seven determined explorers will interest anyone looking for a good adventure. 60 b&w photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/09/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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