Friday 27 October 2017

100 NASTY WOMEN OF HISTORY by Hannah Jewell

100 fascinating and brilliantly written stories about history's bravest, baddest but little known 'nasty' women from across the world. 

In the final debate of the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump leaned into the microphone as Hillary Clinton spoke about social security and called his opponent 'such a nasty woman'. The phrase has stuck around and has since become something of a badge of honour for women around the world. 

What better time than now, then, for us to look back and learn a thing or two from the 'nasty' women of the past? Compiled and written by BuzzFeed writer Hannah Jewell, 100 Nasty Women of History contains profiles of women from across every century, race and continent, united in the fact that they were all a bit 'nasty'. From 3rd-century Syrian queen Zenobia to 20th-century Nigerian women's rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, these are the women who were bold and powerful, but maybe put people (men's) backs up by being so. 

100 Nasty Women of History is an accessible, intelligent, hilarious (and sometimes sweary) guide to the history-making women whom you probably don't know - but definitely should.

As soon as I spotted this book listed in the Hachette Australia catalogue, I knew it was something I would definitely like to read. I thought it might quench my feminist heart's desire to learn as much as I can about the real history sexism has tried so hard to conceal.

I'm always interested in reading about women in history. Whenever we deal with textbooks and biographies about the people who helped shape and change our world, the focus is usually solely on men. And I find it very hard to believe that only men are responsible for absolutely everything. Well, except for senseless wars. I have no problem believing that. :P

There's a lot of historical erasure of the female species in our education system. So it's awesome to see that so many women from the past are finally being unveiled for the many important contributions and groundbreaking discoveries they made along the way.

This book focuses on some lesser known women. Some I'd never even heard of, and am now glad I have because of Hannah's research. 

The cover is eye-catching and gives the reader a sense of the book's tone instantly. There are many intriguing stories within these pages. Some about ancients, killers, geniuses and revolutionaries who dictated their own lives. The style is casual, comical and doesn't shy away from 'bad' language. 

So it's informative and fun!

100 Nasty Women of History is a nice addition to any (every, really!) woman's bookshelf. It not only informs, but also inspires and reminds us that when people say behind every great man is a great woman, they really mean: strong, clever and very capable women stand beside real men.

If you've ever wondered about some of the lesser known women--both good, bad and in-between--you'll probably want to check this out.

I'm shelving this book in my reference section, and will no doubt keep referring back to it for future research.

100 Nasty Women of History, November 2017, ISBN 9781473671263, Hodder & Stoughton

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