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Uppity Women of Ancient Times (Uppity Women)

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  400 Ratings  ·  48 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 884)
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UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

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
Jul 09, 2008 Raelene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 12, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
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
Nov 22, 2011 Mari Butler rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 06, 2012 SheLove2Read rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Feb 17, 2009 Netanella rated it liked it
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.
Jan 12, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
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.
Jun 05, 2015 Helen rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Gossipy anecdotal history turns out to be not my cup of tea at all, but then I find People magazine boring. YMMV
Oct 15, 2015 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was quite excited to receive this book but was slightly disappointed. it is written in a really informal style which does not serve the content well. If it's purpose is to take women's role in history more seriously, it has failed. If it aims to be 'Horrible Histories' for adults then I suppose it's successful.

The majority of the content is really interesting, although could have done with more in depth information (& proper referencing). Some stories did not fulfil the brief of Uppity Wo
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
Oct 15, 2014 Maureen Barnes rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2011 Grace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2009 J.M. rated it liked it
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
Laura Cushing
Apr 12, 2016 Laura Cushing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and sassy biographies of 200 strong and influential women of ancient history. I knew some of the Egyptian, Roman and Greek women but many others I learned about for the first time thanks to this book. Will read more in the series.
Karen Wiland
Entertainingly informative, this book has little bits of history of women in ancient times. I don 19t think it is as funny as advertised and probably won 19t read the rest of the set.
Jan 13, 2015 Sunny rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 26, 2010 May rated it did not like it
Shelves: history, read-2010
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
Jun 03, 2015 Denise rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
May 14, 2014 Laura Gill rated it it was ok
The cutesy tone didn't bother me half so much as the many factual errors I found.
Rebecca Jessup
Jul 30, 2012 Rebecca Jessup rated it liked it
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
Aug 11, 2015 Rob Roy rated it did not like it
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.
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).
Oct 28, 2012 Jennie rated it liked it
Shelves: classical-lit
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.
Apr 29, 2016 Lucinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, april-2016
This was an pretty good book, Sometimes the women named in a few of the pages, didn't seem to have actually done anything but for the most part a fun book.
Mar 06, 2012 Kirstin rated it did not like it
Shelves: 32-in-32, dropped
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.
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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
  • In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth
  • The Book of the Courtesans: A Catalogue of Their Virtues
  • History Laid Bare: Love, Sex & Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding
  • Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500
  • Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny, and Desire
  • That Takes Ovaries!  Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts
  • When Women Were Priests: Women's Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in
  • Who Cooked the Last Supper?: The Women's History of the World
  • What Life Was Like In the Age of Chivalry: Medieval Europe, AD 800-1500 (What Life Was Like)
  • Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love
  • Ancient Inventions
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 (8 books)
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Greece
  • Uppity Women of Medieval Times
  • Uppity Women of the Renaissance
  • Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times
  • Uppity Women of the New World
  • 4000 Years of Uppity Women
  • Uppity Women Speak Their Minds

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