27 April, 2011

Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon Review

Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious WomenScandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon book description from the Scandalous Women Blog

"Throughout history, women have caused wars, defied the rules, and brought men to their knees. The famous and the infamous, queens, divorcees, 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 (69BC – 30BC) 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 Chatelet (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."

Publisher's Weekly (March 21, 2011)

"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 Emilie du Chatelet, who is first identified as "Voltaire's Mistress." 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 Women'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."

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon is a native New Yorker and unabashed history geek. While other kids were reading Dr. Seuss, she would read history books for fun, but the more she studied history, the more she wanted to know about the women who made it, only to find that the section in her school library was rather slim. Still she persevered, reading everything she could get her hands on including the historical fiction of such authors Anya Seton, Taylor Caldwell and Victoria Holt. The result of her research is the blog Scandalous Women (http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.com), launched in the fall of 2007 to an audience eager to discover some of history’s most fascinating and flagrant women.
Since its inception, Scandalous Women has averaged over ten thousand hits a month, and was named one of the 100 Most Awesome Blogs for History Junkies by Best Colleges.com. Regularly syndicated on History Carnival, she is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Victorian Society of America, RWA and RWA NYC, where she served as President for four years.

A pop-culture diva, Elizabeth has written for the popular quiz site Reward TV.com. She is also a professional actress who has played virgins and vixens in everything from Shaw to Shakespeare.
My Thoughts:
I loved this book! Scandalous Women is packed full of information and little known historical tidbits on the some of the most notorious and famous women in the world. Some of the women I recognized and some I didn't. My favorites ,of course, were Anne Boleyn, who I feel has been wrongly portrayed as a whore because one man said so and Grace O'Malley because I love the thought that there were lady pirates, I don't imagine that it was a life that most women would want in that era or any era, but I love the thought of a woman being strong and capable when most of the women of any era in history were dependent on the men in their lives, whether it was their father, brother, or spouse for their livelihood. I also am fascinated with Boudica, can you imagine being a woman warrior and leading your tribe to fight the Romans in Britian? Then there is Mata Hari, the lady executed for espionage in 1917. Turns out that in 2000 some of the files of her arrest and trial proved her innocence.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon tells these mini histories with knowledge, humor and compassion. The book is divided into different chapters, Warrior Queens ,Wayward Wives, Scintillating Seductresses ,Crusading Ladies,Wild Women of the West, Amorous Artists, and Amazing Adventuresses . This book is a must for all you history buffs out there. To quote Laurel Thatcher Ulrich..Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History..after reading this book I totally agree!!!

I received this book from Erin from Penguin Group USA and was not monetarily compensated for my review. Thank you for the chance to read this awesome book!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the review! I'm glad that you liked the book.



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