When I was a pre-teen I spent my allowance on comic books. I mainly bought Superman, Batman and Legion of Superheroes. I was interested in female supeWhen I was a pre-teen I spent my allowance on comic books. I mainly bought Superman, Batman and Legion of Superheroes. I was interested in female superheroes, but Wonder Woman didn't have superpowers at that point. I read Supergirl until her story arc became centered on how aliens had victimized her at a beauty pageant. I wanted to be inspired by a female superhero. I felt betrayed. So I threw up my hands and stopped reading about her. It was Ms. Magazine that showed me what Wonder Woman had once been, and I loved the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series. By that time, however, I didn't read comic books. It was the Witchblade TV series starring Yancy Butler that brought me back to comic books as an adult. I read and collected Witchblade in all its various incarnations , but I also began to read Wonder Woman regularly. I now consider myself a fan of the Amazon from Paradise Island. That's why I had to read and review The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.
Lepore deals extensively with the life of Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston. I've seen reviews here on Goodreads which state that Marston's lifestyle, which some would now call polyamorous, showed that he wasn't really a sincere feminist. I admit that I didn't think much of his failing to give collaborator's credit to Olive Byrne for all the work she did on his psychology book, Emotions of Normal People. This represents a widespread problem in academia. Marston was a professor of psychology at various universities. Olive began as Marston's research assistant. Research assistants, who aren't always women, are still rarely given credit for their work on a professor's writing projects no matter how extensively they contributed to them. Academic writers consider this a completely acceptable practice. The research assistants aspire to become professors who will in turn utilize the labor of their research assistants without giving them credit.
I personally am grateful to Marston for giving us Wonder Woman even though he can't be considered a feminist in modern terms, and Lepore is the ideal historian to present Marston to us with all his eccentricities intact. In The Secret History of Wonder Woman William Moulton Marston and the women of his household live for us again.
I downloaded Arab Women Rising for free from Amazon because I knew I wasn’t getting the whole story about developments in the Middle East in AmericanI downloaded Arab Women Rising for free from Amazon because I knew I wasn’t getting the whole story about developments in the Middle East in American media. The only news I hear about Arab women in the Middle East deals with suppression and discrimination. This book deals with Arab woman entrepreneurs starting their own businesses in Arab nations.
Arab Women Rising was published by Knowledge@Wharton which is the online business journal of The Wharton School, an influential business school at the University of Pennsylvania founded in 1881 by businessman Joseph Wharton.
Although an American institution published the book, the co-authors Nafeesa Sayeed and Rahilla Zafar are Arab women who interviewed the subjects of this celebratory collective biography. According to the introduction, far more Arab women are starting businesses than Arab men. Essma Ben Hamida, who co-founded Enda Inter-Arabe with Michael Cracknell in Tunisia in order to provide micro-loans for new businesses, says women tend to be more receptive to receiving small loans than men.
I am thankful that Knowledge@Wharton decided to be the bearer of good news about women in the Arab world by publishing Arab Women Rising. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in the Middle East, women entrepreneurs and innovators in general.
Would you believe it took me two months to write this review?
The subjects of Improbable Women by William Cotterman are women from wealthy families whoWould you believe it took me two months to write this review?
The subjects of Improbable Women by William Cotterman are women from wealthy families who were explorers in the 18th and 19th centuries. This was an era when ladies like these were supposed to be homebodies or charitable lady bountifuls if they engaged in any activity. This unconventionality made them seem very interesting to me. I had heard of all of them, but had never read anything about them. So I appreciated the fact that the publisher Syracuse University Press made this available for download on Net Galley.
I saw a review on Goodreads which criticized Cotterman for including the ancient Queen Zenobia of Palmyra as an indulgence on the part of the author because there is no evidence included in the book that all of his explorer subjects were keenly interested in Queen Zenobia as he claimed. Freya Stark did write about Queen Zenobia in Rome on the Euphrates, but it seemed to me that Isabel Arundell Burton only went to the ruins of Queen Zenobia's Palmyra because her husband, Sir Richard Francis Burton was going and they both wanted to prove that an El-Mesrab tribe escort was unnecessary. So I thought the comment that Queen Zenobia wasn't quite relevant to this study was a fair one, but I was nevertheless delighted that she had been included because I wanted to know more about her.
Hester Stanhope, the first of these women explorers, is definitely my favorite. Her father, the Earl of Stanhope, supported the French Revolution and wanted to give up his title. He removed the coat of arms from his gates and decided to call his home Democracy Hall. I found his eccentricity delightful, but he was ironically a rather authoritarian parent. Yet Hester Stanhope's life certainly shows that she could be as eccentric as her father had been in her own way.
Gertrude Bell, another of Cotterman's subjects, had an aunt and uncle with a house in Teheran. She stayed with them and learned Farsi. She was a climber, an archaeologist and did a great deal of interesting political work, but Cotterman seemed too interested in her unhappy romances.
After reading Cotterman's study, I will want to read full scale biographies of both Hester Stanhope and Gertrude Bell. I know that there are excellent books on both women. I think that the main value of Improbable Women is to whet the interest of readers, so that they will want to find out more.
Clara Breed was a children's librarian in San Diego during WWII. When her young Japanese-American patrons were interned at Santa Anita Racetrack in 19Clara Breed was a children's librarian in San Diego during WWII. When her young Japanese-American patrons were interned at Santa Anita Racetrack in 1942, she did not turn her back on them. She wrote all her Japanese American patrons, and sent them books along with other items that they and their families needed. A number of Japanese American artists sent Miss Breed art objects in thanks for the art supplies she sent them. Author Joanne Oppenheim discovered Miss Breed when she was attempting to locate a Japanese- American schoolmate. She read the story of this courageous librarian on the website of The National Japanese-American Museum. Oppenheim hoped that a book about a librarian who assisted Japanese Americans during WWII would help to prevent the United States from ever interning American citizens again.
In an afterword to this book, Snowden Becker, who scanned the letters of Miss Breed's correspondents for the National Japanese American Museum while she was still in library school, wrote feelingly about Clara Breed as a role model. I too was inspired by Miss Breed. When I returned this book to the library, I went to the reference desk and told the librarian that Dear Miss Breed was one of the best books I'd ever read.
OK, I'm now totally over Greg Mortenson. In some ways, the title is too generous. Judging from some of what Krakauer writes, Mortenson didn't lose hisOK, I'm now totally over Greg Mortenson. In some ways, the title is too generous. Judging from some of what Krakauer writes, Mortenson didn't lose his way. He was never a match for the heroic image that he's spent so much effort and other people's money to maintain.
Jon Krakauer is a responsible journalist. I've never read his work before, but he documents his claims in this book very well. So I find him much more credible than Mortenson who must be a sociopath if he honestly feels that he hasn't done anything wrong. Krakauer was taken in by Mortenson himself and he's written this book in hopes that it will prevent people from being taken in by him in the future.
What bothers me most are the "ghost schools"--schools that Mortenson has built that are standing empty because he never hired teachers, trained them or provided funds for supplies and books as he claimed to have done. Instead he spent the money promoting his books and keeping them on the bestseller list. It's a crying shame!...more
I read this book because Phyllis Ann Karr mentioned it in an afterword to The Gallows in the Greenwood. I was very interested in seeing a re-evaluatioI read this book because Phyllis Ann Karr mentioned it in an afterword to The Gallows in the Greenwood. I was very interested in seeing a re-evaluation of King John.
The author begins by telling me what I already knew--that Richard the Lion Hearted wasn't really much of a king. When I read the chapter about Richard's military adventures, I came to the conclusion that he wasn't much of a military leader either. It looked like he consistently made the wrong decisions. Since both his parents were intelligent, I wonder if he suffered a head injury during some jousting practice that scrambled his brains.
Lloyd's portrait of John is complex. He neither idealizes John nor demonizes him. He was very much the son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He had their gifts and their flaws. I found Lloyd's analysis of the Magna Carta crisis and its causes illuminating. I felt that there were actually a number of astonishing parallels to the current political situation in Washington DC.
As a Robin Hood fan, I will now have to relinquish the King John of the conventional Robin Hood stories that I grew up with. That King John was a caricature of villainy. The real King John was a human being which is far more interesting.
I got this book to find out more about Cornelius Drebbel, but Humphrey Bradley turned out to be interesting as well. He established a national plan foI got this book to find out more about Cornelius Drebbel, but Humphrey Bradley turned out to be interesting as well. He established a national plan for swamp drainage and building levees in France in 1599. Harris doesn't mention the implications for North American history, but I realized that if Bradley hadn't begun doing this on a national level in the late 16th to early 17th century, there wouldn't have been so many French colonists in Acadia who knew how to build levees, and some of them wouldn't have later brought their knowledge to Louisiana.
I wasn't so much interested in Drebbel's submarine design. In The Grace of Great Things, Robert Grudin had indicated that Drebbel was a pioneer in solar power. Harris dismisses Drebbel's invention of a solar power collector as impractical, but what would our history have looked like if he'd been able to garner support for solar power back in the 17th century? We wouldn't have our problems with fossil fuel energy dependence and climate change.
Unfortunately, as Harris points out, Drebbel didn't leave any notebooks with drawings of his inventions. If he had, he'd be both better known and better respected.
Both of these men have historical importance. This book is one of the few secondary sources about them in English....more