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Uppity Women of Medieval Times (Uppity Women)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  793 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Meet "Serfer Girls", "Battle Axes", "Amazons in Shining Armor", and a host of other women who made history during the Middle AgesOnce again, Vicki Leon makes history sizzle with insightful and witty portraits and accounts of women notorious, courageous, and unusual who both defined and defied their times. During the Middle Ages, Vicki Leon tells us, "a dashing number of mo ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Conari Press
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A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. TuchmanThe Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian MortimerEleanor of Aquitaine by Alison WeirThe Plantagenets by Dan JonesThe Year 1000 by Robert Lacey
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36th out of 459 books — 198 voters
Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki LeónDoomed Queens by Kris WaldherrA Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans by Michael FarquharUppity Women of the Renaissance by Vicki LeónThe Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,983)
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I'll keep this short:

This is the most misogynistic "feminist" book I have ever read.

If you're interested in medieval women, it's a good resource to find names which you can research somewhere else. Unfortunately, Vicki Leon's incompetent misunderstanding of other cultures and times makes it beyond worthless in every other regard. It's downright harmful.

This is honestly the first time I have ever been so swamped with so many inaccuracies, errors, lies, omissions and bigoted insults that I have be
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

I loved these books, full of short but fun and interesting biographies of the women who did NOT take the back burner and allow history to be made around them. They all, in some "uppity" way, were part of the making of that history.

Edited to add: I had to come back and edit this very brief review to add that now that I've been reading so many historical romance novels, I appreciate the Uppity Women books so much more. It wouldn't surprise me if many of the authors I love to read; Julie Garwood, L
Mar 01, 2009 Poindextra rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
An enjoyable book, but in my opinion, the author tries way too hard to be cheeky and irreverent, and this detracts from the content. I wish that she had included dates in all of the profiles, but did not, so I had no idea when some of the people lived. I would have organized the book chronologically as well, or by geographical area to give a more historical perspective on the people profiled.
The medieval times were rife with notable events that make even the most drama-filled lives of celebrities today seem like amateurs. Although there some famous women who stand out from this historic period; there are also many whose stories haven’t been told. Vicki Leon introduces noteworthy women from the medieval period in, “Uppity Women of Medieval Times”.

“Uppity Women of Medieval Times” is a small compilation-type book; the likes of which one might see as a supplement to a museum exhibit. E
Aug 25, 2011 Ilex rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I was under the impression that this book was published in the late 1970s or early 1980s until I checked the publication date and saw that it was instead published in 1997! The attitude of the author is very narrow-minded toward women, seeming to imply that all women enjoy shopping, clothing and cosmetics.

The author's chatty and overly friendly style of writing makes the book appealing as a "bathroom reader", an impression which is heightened by each of the passages on the featured women being n
Jun 29, 2012 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
You want a book that talks about women kicking ass and taking names? Then this is the book for you. From author Vicki Leon, this book recounts the tales of women of the medieval ages from Europe to Korea to Africa and beyond. Ms. Leon takes a humorous approach to recount the lives of these women who had a vision and did something about it and keeps your interested in the history.

Some may not like her by-the-cuff way of talking about the women, but I think it helps in getting to know the women sh
Product description:
Our age doesn't have a lock on outspoken women, as Vicki Leon proves in this impudent, flippant history of the Middle Ages. In the 1600s, Lady Castlehaven charged her husband with rape and had his connubial rights--and head--removed. Prioress Eglentyne, who appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, fell afoul of clerical colleagues by ignoring rules about "dress, dogs, dances" and worse yet, "wandering in the world." And let's not forget Isabel, Queen of Castile, patron of Colum
Ann Keller
Feb 10, 2013 Ann Keller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, women
What an incredible book this is! I’ve never heard of most of these women and my conception of history was vastly altered by reading its pages. Whether it was Alison la Jourdain, Esther Quira, the revolutionary entertainment proposed by Izumono Okuni, Raziya, Maria Cunitz, Phillipa of Hainault or Marguerite de la Roque, these women stepped up and took charge at a time when women were supposed to be meek and biddable. Quite a few of them juggled power and politically-motivated, money hungry husban ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it
An intriguing, interesting and fun read that offers some insight and history about the women time forgot. Some of these uppity ladies are known to history (like Hilda of Whitby and Isabel of Castile) but many are footnotes who have been overlooked by the chroniclers of the ages (such as Margaret Porete and Paston sisters). Each story is relatively short (and many leave you wanting more). If you like unknown facts or historical trivial tidbits then this book is for you.
Stephanie Scelza
Apr 08, 2008 Stephanie Scelza rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: bathroom-reading
this book is so fascinating. everyone should peruse this while on the crapper. so much time spent there, it doesn't have to be wasted! the most interesting tidbits so far: in medieval times, this one chick was raped by her husband and the butler and the stableboy so she sued her hubby and won!! even more interesting...the brand of martial arts made popular by bruce lee was invented by a woman, a nun! and her mentor was a nun as well!
One star off because some accurate dates would've been nice.

Things I learned from this book:

1. Leeches can help you fake virginity

2. Quinine knowlegde came in part from a woman

3. Women have always succed in business

4. Don't get Irish women mad
Oct 16, 2009 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, medieval
This book is like a bag of potato chips. The history bites are quick and delicious, but the nutrition value is a bit questionable--I'm not sure if all the info is accurate, and nothing is put into context (or given a time period).
Aug 31, 2015 Collin rated it liked it
My review for this is remarkably similar to my review of Saints Behaving Badly. It's unfulfilling in its extremely brief, vignette-style treatment of so many women's lives. But it's a great jump-off point for further research.

I think further research is more important for this book, though, than Saints, because Vicki León has a much more obvious feminist bias. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I'm incredibly wary about a popularly published book of source-scarce women from an author whose
Jan 06, 2009 Seeing rated it it was amazing
This is a whole series and the publisher should just put it all into one book and you should keep it in the bathroom. Its perfect bathroom reading!
Jan 19, 2012 SheLove2Read rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Stories of Medieval women who kicked ass, took names and didn't let a little thing like public opinion sway them from living life to the fullest.
Nov 13, 2012 Siobhan rated it really liked it
Funny and irreverent while still packed with information - just how I like my history!
Apr 05, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
Vicky Leon's greatest strength is that she doesn't take history too seriously. Her weakness is that she may not take it seriously at all. Readers of her previous Uppity Women book will recognize her carefree style, full of amusing stories and annoying nicknames, and while her compilations of history's most impressive women are valuable, their gossipy, flippant tone undercuts how important they really are. I look forward to another book in the same series, detailing the lives of famous women in o ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Samantha rated it it was ok
A very informative and intriguing book on the lives of unconventional women in Medieval times. I enjoyed the author's quick wit and satiric style of writing - yet most of the time found it too forced (it quickly became annoying, as I felt sometimes the humor was at the expense of fact, and that is my reason for a low rating). Aside from that, many wonderful women were introduced and their lives explored, and certainly gives you an itching to go do some more research!
Miranda Haley
Jul 17, 2015 Miranda Haley rated it really liked it
Great quick book! Introduced to it by a women's studies professor who would read a story at the begin of each class to inspire and keep things light. Several of the obscure characters have promoted me to do further reading.
Heta Rae
Apr 26, 2014 Heta Rae rated it really liked it
It was interesting, but I really wish it had citations so that it would be easier to find out more about some of them. Seems like a wonderful book for inspiration to start historical fiction stories.
Sep 15, 2009 Kbord rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book filled with short stories about women in the middle ages who would make a feminist movement proud. And yes, there is at least one pirate and one ninja.

What's really amazing is that people today have no concept that there were any outspoken women, etc., in those ages. I know they were rare, but it's not like societies are homogenous with everyone sitting in their pigeon-holed roles.

Anyway, it's fun to read. There are some stories that would be inappropriate for youngsters (an
Nov 10, 2014 Madelyn rated it it was amazing
This is my ghdfhyhjv-nth time reading it. Mom bought a bunch of books like it when she was homeschooling me (4th-6th grade) and we were learning 'bout those periods.
Nikki Shirah
Jan 02, 2015 Nikki Shirah rated it it was amazing
entertaining. a good beach read or a good ski vacation if you are like me and hate the cold.
Jun 04, 2014 Natasha rated it it was ok
Filled with short vignettes about assorted women from different parts of the globe in the Medieval time period, this book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the author tried so hard to write in a catchy and compelling way, it made for a very difficult read. And because some of the attempts at humor are very dated, it makes it even more difficult. I would have found this book far more interesting and engaging if the humor writing had been left to someone more expert and the interesting facts ...more
Apr 02, 2014 Carol added it
not as interesting as I thought it would be. slow reading. would not recommend this book to anyone.
Dec 04, 2013 Nina rated it liked it
Fun and, hopefully, a product of good intentions, this book contains some unfortunate inaccuracies (the chapter on Olga and Tamara, for example, conflates medieval Russia and Georgia during the period when the two shared little if any connection, cultural or political). Though a nice collection of interesting facts and, often, speculations, the book does not go in any depth about any of the women it portrays. It is, however, a decent starting point for those who would do their own research on an ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Onto Wanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2012 Xenia0201 rated it really liked it
I agree with most of those who have reviewed this prior to me this is a great "powder room" book as the bios are brief, yet filled with enough interesting facts and humor to keep you hooked. Leon's revelation that she is a descendant of Adeliza of Louvain (discovered when she was researching her) was really cool! Also unique about this was that Leon researches women around the globe fitting that particular time frame; most associate "medieval" history with Europe.
Christina K
Jun 04, 2016 Christina K rated it it was amazing
SUCH a fun series. Each entry is 1-2 pages, with hilarious wood-cut cartoons (or period-appropriate illustrations). From moms, to doctors, to warriors, to criminals, from Asia to South America to Africa to Europe, this book is a joy. I've reread it several times.
Jennifer Heise
Apr 01, 2013 Jennifer Heise rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
This is such a fun book and it's got women in such a great variety of cultures covered that I wish I could rate it higher-- but the authors take liberties with historical fact in these books and also subscribe to the usual misconceptions about medieval history. Give it to a teen girl who is interested in the middle ages to inspire her; but follow up with some more solid history and/or a discussion of what popular vs. scholarly history might be.
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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 (8 books)
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Times
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Greece
  • 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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