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Uppity Women of Medieval Times (Uppity Women)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  694 ratings  ·  58 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 WeirA World Lit Only by Fire by William R. ManchesterIn Search of the Dark Ages by Michael Wood
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31st out of 424 books — 159 voters
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
Biographical Sketches
1st out of 58 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 ~ 1-Click RockChick

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
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.
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
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
Jun 29, 2012 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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!
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).
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!
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.
Funny and irreverent while still packed with information - just how I like my history!
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
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!
Heta Rae
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.
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
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
entertaining. a good beach read or a good ski vacation if you are like me and hate the cold.
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.
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I enjoyed this book. I will definitely keep it, and save it for those days when I need a dose of bad-ass inspiration in my life. My one little nit-pick is that sometimes the author's humour annoyed me, but all in all, I didn't mind it. Well-researched and is a good starting source for historical research into powerful women of medieval times. I am going to read quite a few of the books she sourced in her bibliography.
This is a fun read, and a good coffee table or bathroom book: Entries are usually quite short, but interesting. There are quite a few cases where I wish there was more information on these uppity women. Many of them seem like they would make good topics for historical fiction books. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and this book has a wide array of women that lived extraordinary lives.
Persecutions against Native Americans during the Medieval Period? Surely you didn't write that, Ms Leon... oh yep there it is on page 145. You have a definition of Medieval that not even the most liberal of experts would use....

I have serious doubt to the authenticity of some of these vignettes. I think she's stretching the truth and embellishing the scanty facts available in many cases.
I was disappointed in this book. I thought it would be whole chapters on maybe 7 or 8 women, instead it was one or two pages each on 200 women. It was interesting but after a while they all sounded the same. The author has a snappy writing style, kind of sarcastic, comparing various women's situations to what's happening in today's world.
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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 Times
  • Uppity Women of Ancient Greece
  • Uppity Women of the Renaissance
  • Uppity Women of the New World
  • 4000 Years of Uppity Women
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