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Uppity Women of Ancient Times (Uppity Women)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Based on letters, court cases, artwork, coins, diary entries, artifacts, even graffiti -- these rip-roaring "lives" (more than 200 of them!) document the sometimes scandalous escapades of women who reveled in rocking the historical boat. Brings women to life in a way that makes us laugh but also creates appreciation for their courage and ingenuity at a time of often harsh ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by MJF Books (first published October 28th 1995)
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Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki LeónA Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans by Michael FarquharUppity Women of the Renaissance by Vicki LeónThe Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will CuppyDoomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
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Community Reviews

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UniquelyMoi ~ 1-Click RockChick

I loved this book, full of short but fun and interesting biographies of the women who did sit idly by while history was being made around them. They all, in some "uppity" way, were part of the making of that history.

Edited to add: If you're looking for some fun historical stories, check out the Uppity Women books. Having spent so much time reading historical romance novels over the past couple of years, I've come to appreciate these books even more. Each story is short so it's a great book to ta

I have mixed feelings about Vicki Leon’s books. On the one hand, her cutesy writing style is far too juvenile to my tastes, and she often writes about her subjects with a plethora of inaccuracies cropping up. On the other hand, she usually manages to highlight some obscure snippets of information that have passed me by. For that reason, I decided to read Uppity Women, taking the information contained within with a huge pinch of salt, mainly as a prompt that I could then find out further and more
Come one, come all, and read this is little book. In the pages you will hear stories concerning -

women posioning husbands

women being torn to death by monks

women avenging their daughters who were raped (by cutting off people's hands and then building statues that are missing hands as warnings)

women as lawyers, poets, and the first 0b-gyn

Thrill to the story of the man who tried to hide in a pile of dog poo and then got ate by dogs!

Read about saints and Paul's sidekick!

Scream at the girl who becom
This is light reading with a purpose: to highlight the most fascinating women, both famous and obscure, or the first three millennia of world history. Author Vicki Leon has compiled quite a list, and rather than simply listing the obvious choices: Cleopatra, Helena, and Boudicca, she has scoured historical sources, gleaning whatever she could from women-hostile ancient sources and presented a wealth of information despite her book's size and format.

While her research is thorough and her accounts
Mari Butler
Through researching inscriptions, court cases, letters and artifacts Leon presents mini-biographies of 200 women didn’t let being the “fairer sex” stop them from ruling over their lives. These are not literary figures but real women who lived between 2500 B.C. and 450 A.D. Besides well known Cleopatra and Jezebel, there is the poet Korinna who beat a man five times in a poetry competition in the fifth century B.C. Semiraris a Chaldean princess is credited with inventing trousers so that she coul ...more
I enjoyed this very much. As the title implies, it is a fun and lighthearted read, not necessarily a scholarly work. It felt more like a fascinating conversation with a friend than a lesson plan. You get to know the author through her writing style, and I, for one, liked her.
These are short and interesting biographies of women in history who did a little more beyond being a wife and/or mother. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in ancient history it was definitely unusual!

My favorites included:
Queen Aahotep of Egypt, so renowned for her battle skills she was buried with a ceremonial battle ax!
Queen Tomyris of Massagete. She laid the smack down on King Cyrus of Persia in battle in a big way and basically told his corpse...'how do you like me now?'.

If y
I think this book would be way more awesome if it were written with more detail and with a more mature style. I do think that it is very valuable, and realized that not a whole lot more detail could be added for many of these women. Props to her for doing all the research though!
Oh look at me, with my new-found freedom to *not* finish books. This is fun to flip through, but I didn't feel like I was getting much out of the brief bios, and I don't have much motivation to read every single one. It might make good bathroom reading though.
Gossipy anecdotal history turns out to be not my cup of tea at all, but then I find People magazine boring. YMMV
Sandra Strange
I really like this series--collections of small biographical sketches of women through history, some famous, some infamous, some obscure, but all spirited women who made their mark. The very short sketches are told playfully, which makes them fun to read. This volume, however, contains some (very little) PG 13 details (about sexual/homosexual practices and materials) that may make it inappropriate for younger and sensitive readers.
Maureen Barnes
Fantastic short stories about real women who might have been forgotten about if it wasn't for this book. Her writing style is a little cheeky and slightly juvenile but I like the concept of short stories that touch upon history. I feel like this book series opens the door for women's history that could be forgotten and dismissed over time. If you find a story you like you can always research it more.
Overall, it's okay, but the "girlfriend!" tone/voice that the author uses gets really annoying, so it took me a long time to read this book because I could only take so much at a time! It sparked my interest in learning more about some of these women, but the accounts of the ones I already knew a lot about were especially annoying. The tone is really off-putting, but I love that there are so many ancient women in this book that I had never heard of. Another potential drawback is the shortness of ...more
I was pretty excited for this book and was somewhat disappointed. I understand that women living in ancient times is not necessarily a mainstream topic. While I applaud Ms. Leon for trying to bring these women and their lives to modern day readers her simplistic and often juvenile (by this I mean silly and childish, not merely written for children) manner of writing is annoying and grated on my nerves. I do not know if this was the author's attempt at updating the material and making it more acc ...more
This book is laid out as a series of one-page articles highlighting different "uppity women" from the past. It begins in pre-Biblical times and mentions some women you may have heard of in your history class, but a good number of the subjects in the book were new to me. It's interesting to read about how some women managed to make a name for themselves in patriarchal societies that viewed them as inferior creatures, and surprisingly their memories survive until this day.

Very interesting read, of
Apr 03, 2012 Bethanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs, feminists, high school and homeschooled students
Recommended to Bethanie by: Homeschool studies
For anyone who loves history and laments the lack of a feminist influence in our past- this book is for you! Well researched and written with a humorous tone, this is a welcome read for history buffs of any gender, especially those like me who are interested in seeing more of a 'human' perspective on the past, rather than studying history to memorize facts and political happenings.

The only reason this isn't getting five stars is because I found myself wishing there was more information featured
Horrible title, but rather a useful source to discover fascinating women typical histories skip over. Each quick bio is written in a casual, almost flippant tone. It's an entertaining read, but you'll need to go elsewhere for details or serious scholarship.
Not sure what her criteria was for choosing some of these women but I had a hard time trying to appreciate Shibtu for "inventing" interoffice memos. It felt like the author was grasping for names to fill out the sections which is broken down geographically and then chronically. Without proper footnotes and a style that tries to be more down-to-earth than academic, this book fails to deliver and I found myself skimming ahead to see if it would get better. To be my bitter disappointment, it only m ...more
This book is part of a series (4000 Years of Uppity Women, Uppity Women of the New World) treating women’s history which is apparently intended to be readily accessible, particularly to young people. The approximately 200 portraits (one hesitates to call them biographies) are of classical and post-classical women. These are short, covering usually no more than two or three pages. The book itself is small, some 7 x 7 inches. That a two-dimensional view of the subject’s life is given can only be e ...more
Laura Gill
The cutesy tone didn't bother me half so much as the many factual errors I found.
Rebecca Jessup
I'm reading one portrait a day out loud to my partner, and they're really fun and fascinating. Many of the women featured are from Assyria, Babylon, ancient Persia -- so far most are outside the ancient Greco-Roman world, most predate that world. Leon's breezy, tongue-in-cheek style sometimes goes over the top into cutesy, and sometimes her portraits themselves are so breezy that much is left out (e.g., the "wife" of Mithradates the great), and no specific sources are cited so I can't do any fol ...more
Rob Roy
Do NOT read this book!!! I expected short vignettes of women of the ancient world based on historical fact. What I got was folksy stories, with many inaccuracies. If you love history, run. If you are a feminist, and want information on early feminists, run even faster.
Feb 17, 2009 Netanella rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Joan and all my old college girlfriends. My dad - hah!
Shelves: ancient-studies
A nice little resource book, offering about a two-page summary of the doings of extravagant and famous women from Mesopotamia to the fall of the ancient world. A bibliography of suggested reading is offered at the end. A lovely volume to add to my shelf, and I'm glad I picked it up.
Sort of a nifty book of feminist proaganda relating to antiquity - I only wish the author had paid a little closer attention to transliteration of ancient names (some of them seem a bit sketchy to me - but maybe she had a system).
The author's sense of humor can get a little grating--lots of cheap puns and cliches. And with so many women in one book, they all start to blur together. But still, it was an informative and fun read.
Really annoying tone, very little information. The stories were too short to get anything out of, and many of the women were not interesting or important.
Kinda torn. I wanted to like it a little more than I did. And her tone sometimes does feel too casual. However, the subject matter is worthy.
An interesting look at an often overlooked topic. However, like the others in the series, the writing style can be repetitive.
Lynn Carlson
I love history and I really enjoyed reading about women who were liberated long before women's lib!
Pretty decent book. I enjoyed the stories but felt there was more fiction than fact.
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BYU-Adolescent Li...: Outrageous Women of Ancient Times 1 1 Jun 12, 2013 09:40PM  
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  • Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity
  • Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny, and Desire
  • Inventing the Middle Ages
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  • In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth
  • Ancient Inventions
  • Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)
  • Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times
  • Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500
  • Shakespeare's Tremor and Orwell's Cough: The Medical Lives of Famous Writers
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A prolific author of non-fiction, author of numerous books for young and old, Vicki León delights in unearthing unusual facts, fresh anecdotes, and uncommon statistics to create her books on the natural world and the flip side of history. Her book have won rave reviews from a long list of media that includes People magazine. Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Voice of America, and numerous ...more
More about Vicki León...

Other Books in the Series

Uppity Women (6 books)
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Greece
  • Uppity Women of Medieval Times
  • Uppity Women of the Renaissance
  • Uppity Women of the New World
  • 4000 Years of Uppity Women
Uppity Women of Medieval Times 4000 Years of Uppity Women Uppity Women of the Renaissance Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World Uppity Women of the New World

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