Book Review: History vs. Women…

In my undergraduate and graduate years, I majored in English with a concentration in women’s studies. I read and wrote about thousands of women. Silly me, I thought because of my studies, I was well-versed in women’s history. Boy, was I wrong!

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, e.g. Ida B. Wells, Hypatia, and Maria Tallchief, there was so much that I did not know about their lives.

The book is divided into five sections: Reckless Rebels, Revelatory Scholars, Ruthless Villains, Restless Artists, and Relentless Amazons. Each section highlights five different women. Although most of the women featured fit easily into their assigned category, some were not an easy fit. For example, the authors chose to label Margaret Thatcher as a ruthless villain. Although I would agree that Thatcher was not the most compassionate individual nor do I support all of her stances or condone all of her actions, I would not label her as villainous. She was much more complex that.

In fact, of all the sections, the Ruthless Villains‘ section was my least favorite. Although I understand that the authors wanted to “recognize that women are…capable of…the depths of wickedness” and did not want to “sugarcoat…gruesome or unsavory history,” this section left a bad taste in my mouth. For me, just knowing that evil exists is enough. I do not need to read all about it to understand that there are bad people in the world.

I am also not a fan of the book design, which is geared to a younger crowd (teenager and young adult). Strong colors, geometric patterns, and white text on black pages define this publication. Although the look is trendy, I found the design distracting and the reverse text difficult to read with my aging eyes. Even more difficult to read was the authors’ Afterword—black text on a dark cyan background (with gray diagonal lines running through it).

Despite the fact that I am not enamored with the villains’ section or the overall graphic design, I was impressed with how much effort was given to highlighting women from all over the world: women of various races, religions, sexual orientation, and eras. I commend the authors for their conscientious effort to provide a more well-rounded overview of women’s history, and I can’t wait to read their next edition!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Feiwel and Friends, courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: History vs. Women…

  1. I am so glad to hear from you, Carol. Thank you for remaining a loyal follower.

    I can certainly understand why you might be wary of some modern-day feminists. In today’s social justice movements, religions, and politics, radicals exist.

    I for one refuse to allow my beliefs/opinions to be hijacked by radical elements or overshadowed by others’ narratives. These people are allowed to believe as they do, but their opinions do not negate mine. And when I stop to look around… I mean, really look, I see so many others who believe as I do—without all the melodrama, anger, or toxicity.

    As to this book, whether you are a feminist or not, you might appreciate the stories of 25 noteworthy women throughout world history. I know I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol Radowenchuk

    I love to read but white on black would be torture for my old eyes.

    So many emotions went through me as I read your blog. From thinking of how my feelings have changed over the years to what my belief has become today. I would have considered myself a feminist in my younger days but when I look around today, I shudder and have nothing in common with the women who are touted as today’s feminists.

    I still enjoy reading your posts and continue to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

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