Monday, March 17, 2014

Uppity Women Win!

4,000 Years of Uppity Women –Vicki Leon

209 pages – hardback
5 Stars

This little book is chockablock full of short vignettes about "uppity" women from the last 4,000 years. While it is a book of herstory, and Ms. Leon has obviously done her research, it is not a scholarly tome of total seriousness; however, it is a book of great fun and interesting women. I certainly would not recommend it to be the only book on the bibliography of a high school paper!

In many cases, there is hardly more than a paragraph known about the woman, and it seems pretty remarkable to me that Ms. Leon was able to ferret out as much as she did about her. I bought this book to use in my own research, to glean ideas and names from the pages for possible stories of my own. For that, it is perfect!

If you want in-depth herstory after reading some of these vignettes, in many cases it is available at your nearest library or bookstore. Ms. Leon has included a bibliography which is worth the read, if you want more information.

Did she get ALL the uppity women? Of course not, but she got a fair amount. (I would have loved to read her take on Mrs. Mary Jemison, a contemporary of Eunice Williams.) And, of course, I would have LOVED to have seen my most favorite uppity woman, Madame Marie Dorion in her book!

Her style of writing is fun, at times almost flippant, but she gets her point across. There were times I laughed out loud at some of her remarks. This is herstory written for everyone, not just the academics of serious scholars.

The story of the Baltimore widow, Mary Young Pickersgill, was a new one for me, and fascinating (the "real" Betsey Ross). I knew the stories of Sally Hemings and Eunice Williams, and some of the female pirates and thieves, but many of these vignettes introduced me to women I had not heard of, and I want to learn more. I have heard and read a bit about The Tales of Genji, but did not know how or why it was written. Indeed, I learned a great deal from this little gem.

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