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History Vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don't Want You to Know

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Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian princesses to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew. Featuring beautiful full-color illustrations of each woman and a bold graphic design, this standout nonfiction title is the perfect read for teens (or adults!) who want the true stories of phenomenal women from around the world and insight into how their lives and accomplishments impacted both their societies and our own.


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Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian princesses to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew. Featuring beautiful full-color illustrations of each woman and a bold graphic design, this standout nonfiction title is the perfect read for teens (or adults!) who want the true stories of phenomenal women from around the world and insight into how their lives and accomplishments impacted both their societies and our own.

30 review for History Vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don't Want You to Know

  1. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    Another exceptional book about forgotten and erased women in history to come out recently. Most needed and appreciated. I especially loved learning about the Sikh hero Mai Bhago; the 19th-20th century transgender brothel madam Lucy Hicks Anderson; Mother of the Children and education and Al-Qarawiyin Fatima al-Fihri; the 18th century Qing Dynasty poet and astronomer Wang Zhenyi; the black human computer to help launch men into space Annie Easley; the ruthless and terrible Spanish queen Isabel I; Another exceptional book about forgotten and erased women in history to come out recently. Most needed and appreciated. I especially loved learning about the Sikh hero Mai Bhago; the 19th-20th century transgender brothel madam Lucy Hicks Anderson; Mother of the Children and education and Al-Qarawiyin Fatima al-Fihri; the 18th century Qing Dynasty poet and astronomer Wang Zhenyi; the black human computer to help launch men into space Annie Easley; the ruthless and terrible Spanish queen Isabel I; the Cantonese pirate queen and the most successful pirate of all time Ching Shih; the "Godmother" and American mobster and drug queen Griselda Blanco; early 20th century filmmaker Lois Weber; African-American artist Elizabeth Catlett; the unmatched badass 13th century Mongolian princess Khutulun; the oh-hell-yes 17th century Potosi vigilante partners and lovers Ana de Urinza and Eustaquia de Sonza; early 20th century undefeated wrestler and bodybuilder Kati Sandwina (a real life Wonder Woman); and the baseball player Jackie Mitchell, who struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Of course she was discredited for it and called a fraud because she was a girl. Yes, the 'Relentless Amazons' section is a damn exciting, inspirational and liberating read. To hell with what is considered "feminine" and "masculine". Admire (or just pay attention to) a woman's actions and words, not her looks. Films need to be made about these historical heroines, scholars, leaders, giantesses and villainesses. Seriously, get on with it now, Hollywood, or preferable anyone else. No excuses. Featuring very nice sketched portraits to go with the abridged versions of their stories, and some brilliant quotes and feminist commentary, 'History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don't Want You to Know' comes recommended by me. It can be read in one cosy afternoon. Huge props for the recommendation of Jason Porath's 'Rejected Princesses' in the acknowledgements as well! The authors admit in the afterword that they wanted to include more amazing women in 'History vs Women', and be as diverse as possible, which wasn't easy due to deadlines and the scant research they could find on these complex women's lives, not just their achievements. So maybe there will be a volume 2, if this book is successful enough. I hope it will be. Everybody, girls, boys, young, old, anyone and anyone outside of the binary, should be reading books like this, for the sake of the human race. You can learn so much about women if you only listen to them and pay attention. We'd be nothing without them; without their "rebelling" and fight to be seen as equals to men. No one can keep any girl down. They're people, not to be placed in any box. Not to be limited and made small and submissive by men. History and liberation for women across generations! Progress, freedom and respect for women! Final Score: 5/5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    A thoroughly enjoyable and very interesting addition to the plethora of books about notable women of history that have been published recently. There were multiple women featured in this book that I did not know about before, and found fascinating--rebels. athletes. artists. politicians. I was in awe of so many of their accomplishments, and the courage it must have taken to achieve them. My only complaint about the book is small--while the pencil drawings for each woman were absolutely gorgeous, A thoroughly enjoyable and very interesting addition to the plethora of books about notable women of history that have been published recently. There were multiple women featured in this book that I did not know about before, and found fascinating--rebels. athletes. artists. politicians. I was in awe of so many of their accomplishments, and the courage it must have taken to achieve them. My only complaint about the book is small--while the pencil drawings for each woman were absolutely gorgeous, the rest of the graphic design, both colors and patterns, gave me a headache. Perhaps this is just to remind me that I'm not the target audience? at any rate, that's a small quibble. Otherwise I very much enjoyed these stories and raced through them. I also appreciated that Ms Sarkeesian and Ms Adams included more commentary than usual in each segment on one of the women. I didn't know much about Margaret Thatcher, other than who she was, prior to this, but the very thoughtful chapter on her not only taught me the facts of her life, but also why the authors included her in the villains section, next to lady pirates and drug lords, and one of my favorites, the riotous Moll Cutpurse. I now have so many more women to learn more about. I definitely recommend this collection--it's accessible for a younger generation, but not dumbed down in a way to repel older readers (aside from the graphic design *shakes cane. get off my lawn!*), and you'll learn about women you may never have heard of before, who certainly deserve to have their achievements recognized. Some of my personal favorites, aside from Moll Cutpurse? Trieu Thi Trinh, Vietnamese freedom fighter from the third century. Fatima al-Fihri, medieval founder of a still active university. Khutulun, the unbeatable wrestling princess. Jackie Mitchell, the female pitcher who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. and so many more. Go read the book. Now!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brianne

    This was such an enjoyable and informative read! I recommend it to one and all!

  4. 5 out of 5

    R

    This was a very well written, well researched, beautifully illustrated book that highlighted twenty five remarkable women who were certainly defiant, but they were also women that made history with their dynamic exploits, especially in times when submissiveness was the norm. They defied the odds and made a name for themselves, and now thanks to the authors, their names and place in history will no longer be silent or ignored. This is the type of book that should be in classrooms (14-18 age group This was a very well written, well researched, beautifully illustrated book that highlighted twenty five remarkable women who were certainly defiant, but they were also women that made history with their dynamic exploits, especially in times when submissiveness was the norm. They defied the odds and made a name for themselves, and now thanks to the authors, their names and place in history will no longer be silent or ignored. This is the type of book that should be in classrooms (14-18 age group) and prominently showcased, especially during the celebration of Women’s History month in March. These women have earned that right. Very highly recommended!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Tired of damsels in distress? Ready for some rebels, artists, scholars, amazons, and even villains? Then this is the book for you. Some of the women profiled within these pages may be familiar - Margaret Thatcher, Annie Easley - but others you have probably never heard of. How about Wang Zhenyi, a poet from the Qing Dynasty? She was born in 1768 and studied everything from astronomy to martial arts. In 1994 a crater on the planet Venus was named for her. "When you look into the night sky, seek o Tired of damsels in distress? Ready for some rebels, artists, scholars, amazons, and even villains? Then this is the book for you. Some of the women profiled within these pages may be familiar - Margaret Thatcher, Annie Easley - but others you have probably never heard of. How about Wang Zhenyi, a poet from the Qing Dynasty? She was born in 1768 and studied everything from astronomy to martial arts. In 1994 a crater on the planet Venus was named for her. "When you look into the night sky, seek out Venus and be dazzled by the celestial body and the woman who saw the stars and felt the wonder of the universe." If stargazing isn't your style, perhaps you prefer the arts? Maria Tallchief and her brilliant performance as Ballanchine's Firebird may be more to your tastes. The first Native American prima ballerina explained her achievements by saying, "You do what you have to do, and when you must, then you do a little more." Or there is Murasaki Shikibu, who wrote The Tale of Genji around the year 1000, and it is considered the first modern novel. She "filled her novel with multifaceted female characters who provided a rare glimpse into how it felt to be a woman in her world." After something more aggressive? What about Khutulun of Mongolia (born around 1260), who was even mentioned in the journals of Marco Polo? He was impressed with the way she would ride into battle with her father's troops and could capture an enemy "as deftly as a hawk pounces on a bird." She was also a champion wrestler and refused to marry anyone who could not defeat her. There are also tales of a female pirate who commanded an entire fleet, women who were directors and producers in the early days of Hollywood, and those who stood against the practices of lynching during Jim Crow. Recommended for anyone with an interest in women's history or feminism. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 because I want to know so much more. This is a much-needed collection of stories about 25 different women who challenged the norm of their times. Although history has neglected them and the authors often had to rely on the little information that was available about them, the book brings them to life and makes readers wish to know more. Sadly, even in 2018, we still seem to celebrate a woman's looks and physical attributes or her connection to some other powerful figure than looking at her i 3.5 because I want to know so much more. This is a much-needed collection of stories about 25 different women who challenged the norm of their times. Although history has neglected them and the authors often had to rely on the little information that was available about them, the book brings them to life and makes readers wish to know more. Sadly, even in 2018, we still seem to celebrate a woman's looks and physical attributes or her connection to some other powerful figure than looking at her intelligence, her actions, and her accomplishments. The authors divide the book into five sections focusing on five women in each one: "Reckless Rebels," "Revelatory Scholars," "Ruthless Villains," "Restless Artists," and "Relentless Amazons." Teen readers will love those titles, and might claim one of them for their own. While I was familiar with several of these--Queen Isabel, Ida B. Wells, Maria Tallchief, Murasaki Shikibu, and Artemesia Gentileschi, for instance--there were many others whose names and exploits were new to me. The story of Lucy Hicks Anderson, a black woman born into the body of a male, and who wanted others to accept her as she was, might be of interest to readers as she figured out a way to pay the bills by running a brothel. Each woman merits a full-page illustration and a couple of pages describing accomplishments and life challenges as well as historical context. The title fits the book's contents perfectly, reminding readers that these women often had to fight against family, societal restrictions, and legal limits only to have their stories "lost" or dismissed by those who write the history books. I really appreciated the authors' self-critique of their own work and the omission of women from certain parts of the world and certain cultures due to their need to have research about those individuals translated. This struck me as wonderfully honest and apt, and made me eagerly anticipate the next volume, which will remedy those omissions. I also was delighted that this book wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but that the authors took pains to point out that some powerful women were really not very nice at all. Grab this one for yourself and for a middle grader or high schooler in need of some inspiration in pushing against gender norms or how society seems to regard what is masculine and what is feminine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    4.5 stars. I think this is a good starting place for learning about these awesome women. It didn't go into much depth on any of them- understandable with the format, and it could feel a bit preachy sometimes, but overall, pretty good. I'm glad they included a villain section bc when I first got it and was flipping through, I saw the section on Margaret Thatcher and was just like, oh no...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sionna

    *I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* This is a harder review to write because the formatting and display of the e-ARC was mixed up in places. So, it is a little hard to determine my thoughts on the writing, but I still have a favorable opinion of this book. This isn't the first women's history nonfiction I've read -- heck this is actually the 3rd this year. It has been a popular year for forgotten women of history. Yet, all three books have *I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* This is a harder review to write because the formatting and display of the e-ARC was mixed up in places. So, it is a little hard to determine my thoughts on the writing, but I still have a favorable opinion of this book. This isn't the first women's history nonfiction I've read -- heck this is actually the 3rd this year. It has been a popular year for forgotten women of history. Yet, all three books have different writing styles, categories, and even women to talk about. There is of course some crossover, but surprisingly, this book only contained about 4 I've read about before, and that might be because it is so difficult for English-speakers to learn about or be able to translate texts from other languages. I like how a picture is included with the text and the highlighted passages were usually ones I would have wanted noticed. Also, I love how a section for bad women of history is included as well, and explained why we need to recognize women of all different areas of history, the good and the evil. I think this book handled issues well and it felt like they did try to branch out from Western history. This is another book I think people should read just so they can learn about forgotten people of history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    As someone who follows Feminist Frequency's work, I was excited to see Anita and Ebony had this book coming out. I preordered it immediately and knew I would enjoy it. I wasn't wrong. History vs Women was my night book for about a week; it is not a book that will take up much of your time. The chapters are relatively short, each covering five women with each entry about two pages or more. The writing is informative while also maintain a critical feminist lens on the women covered and how we st As someone who follows Feminist Frequency's work, I was excited to see Anita and Ebony had this book coming out. I preordered it immediately and knew I would enjoy it. I wasn't wrong. History vs Women was my night book for about a week; it is not a book that will take up much of your time. The chapters are relatively short, each covering five women with each entry about two pages or more. The writing is informative while also maintain a critical feminist lens on the women covered and how we study women in history. The women selected were mostly new to me; each entry is well-researched and footnoted. I almost wish this book was longer because I wanted to know more, but maybe we will get a Volume Two. I would be here for that. Overall, History vs Women is an interesting and informative read that highlights several women we should remember in history. If you're a feminist, a history nerd, or better yet both, History vs Women should be on your bookshelf.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynndell

    Interesting read! Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Feiwel and Friends for the opportunity to read and review History vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You To Know by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams! The chapter titles are Reckless Rebels, Revelatory Scholars, Ruthless Villains, Restless Artists, and Relentless Amazons! The chapter titles made me even more interested in the book! The introduction got me hyped up by a few historical facts about women, such as a Japanese woman invent Interesting read! Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Feiwel and Friends for the opportunity to read and review History vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You To Know by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams! The chapter titles are Reckless Rebels, Revelatory Scholars, Ruthless Villains, Restless Artists, and Relentless Amazons! The chapter titles made me even more interested in the book! The introduction got me hyped up by a few historical facts about women, such as a Japanese woman invented the novel and a Chinese woman ruled a fleet of 400 pirate ships. This impressive work of history and the women who created it is a gem to read! From a civil rights activist to a prime minister, each story captured my interest and I will purchase this book for the library for research and as a great read, 5 stars!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alba

    Perhaps it was my own excitement pre-release the reason why I was a bit disappointed by this book. I preordered it as soon as I could since I have followed Sarkeesian's steps for a long time now and got to know about Adams through a podcast they both host (with another equally brilliant woman). I expected the book to be thorough but this is more of a coffee table book. The illustrations are gorgeous and it is at its core a very necessary book but it lacked depth to me. I also found the selection Perhaps it was my own excitement pre-release the reason why I was a bit disappointed by this book. I preordered it as soon as I could since I have followed Sarkeesian's steps for a long time now and got to know about Adams through a podcast they both host (with another equally brilliant woman). I expected the book to be thorough but this is more of a coffee table book. The illustrations are gorgeous and it is at its core a very necessary book but it lacked depth to me. I also found the selection of the women in it a bit random overall but I would still recommend this book since it is important that we get to know more about women in history and every little helps.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erikka

    This was a fantastic, and extremely well organized, glimpse into the lives of 15 amazing and diverse women from history. There's nothing I can say about this book that isn't said 10x more eloquently within its own pages, so I won't try. Just read it, have your girls read it, and especially have your boys read it. A side note on one of the women, artist Artemesia Gentilleschi. If you find her story interesting, read the novel in verse "Blood Water Paint", a lovely story that gives a voice to a fo This was a fantastic, and extremely well organized, glimpse into the lives of 15 amazing and diverse women from history. There's nothing I can say about this book that isn't said 10x more eloquently within its own pages, so I won't try. Just read it, have your girls read it, and especially have your boys read it. A side note on one of the women, artist Artemesia Gentilleschi. If you find her story interesting, read the novel in verse "Blood Water Paint", a lovely story that gives a voice to a forgotten painter of unbelievable talent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I've greatly appreciated the wave of historical women bio anthologies that have come out recently, and History vs. Women is another satisfying entry in that genre. While some of the women featured were familiar to me due to reading other women's history anthologies a good number of them were not and have inspired me to learn more about their lives outside of these pages. Highly recommended! I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

  14. 5 out of 5

    KTC

    I just finished reading, History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don't Want You to Know, by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams. From the first page to the last, women whom I had never heard were revealed to me. These women's fascinating lives and amazing accomplishments kept me riveted. Even though I “knew” some of these women from previous study, e.g. Ida B. Wells, Hypatia, and Maria Tallchief, there was so much that I didn't know about them.…more

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Preachy, not as good as other historical women bio anthologies and doesn't stand out among the growing number of them. Hilarious that all the illustrations are of beautiful women when we don't know what many of them looked like -- why can't our heroines look like normal people?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I really love the take on ruthless villains and the commentary that Sarkeesian and Adams provided on each chapter. It's a fast read with a few women I've never heard of, so all the better.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    As a history major, I love learning more about women in history. This book does just that. While we only learn the basics of each woman it was so nice to see them starting to get some recognition. I find it really frustrating that I had only heard of three of these women before. The badass lady pirate, and the female baseball player, and the human computers. All because of movies and who have finally showcased them recently. I really hope they make a part two of this book or make it into a serial As a history major, I love learning more about women in history. This book does just that. While we only learn the basics of each woman it was so nice to see them starting to get some recognition. I find it really frustrating that I had only heard of three of these women before. The badass lady pirate, and the female baseball player, and the human computers. All because of movies and who have finally showcased them recently. I really hope they make a part two of this book or make it into a serial book where they show 25 new women every year or six months. Just an idea, as I know there are tons of other women out there who have done amazing things. I cannot recommend this book enough and I will be doing my own research on some of them to continue to learn about them. Maybe I'll even be able to write a few papers on them!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elise

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wiltshire

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  23. 5 out of 5

    KittyMeowMeow

  24. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  25. 5 out of 5

    C

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Wallace

  27. 4 out of 5

    Clara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kay Vanserra

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