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Pope Joan

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  57,860 Ratings  ·  4,163 Reviews
Publisher's Summary

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die - Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter.
Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against
Published September 4th 2009 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published 1996)
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Interesting take on the legend, but has some flaws. I think I'm going to be another one in the minority here. I found the idea of a woman disguised as a man seated on the papal throne to be an interesting legend and the author did a decent job with it. I appreciated the research the author took on the period and customs of the times, which is not an easy task as so much is unknown about the dark ages.

The problem I had is the incredible coincidences throughout the book where Joan is just saved i
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
About the only female pope back in the 9th century. The Catholic Church today treats Pope Joan as legend created by the Protestants, but with over 500 documents to prove she did exist, it is but another bureaucratic cover-up.
A woman from Frankish lands with Saxon and English heritage in the 9th century going out there and doing it for herself. It is a thinking person's book. Lots of Latin in there, of course, because the language used in the church then was Latin. But don't let that stop you fro
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-the-best
Before I started reading this book I gave a brief summary to some of my friends who saw that I had just bought it and were wondering about it. That got us into a heated discussion about how completely outrageous it is for a woman to dress up as a man. How it's pretty much impossible to get away with it seeing as you'll always end up in some sort of situation where you have to reveal yourself for what you really are.

That discussion ended up shading me slightly when I began to read, thinking, "Rea

In conclusion, having completed this novel, having struggled through to the end, I can say I did not like it. I didn't like it from the start to the end. When I voice this opinion, I am obviously in the minority. I do appreciate that the author concluded with an informative author's note, which supports her belief that Pope Joan did exist, between the acknowledged Pope Leo IV and Pope Benedict III. I found her arguments undeniably convincing. I do not know whether Pope Joan existed
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever you see a legend, you can be sure, if you go to the very bottom of things, that you will find history. Vallet de Viriville

Joan Anglicus is a frustrated young girl. The brightest and most scholarly of all her siblings, she is often denied the chance to learn because of her sex. The Dark Ages were a time when womens brains were thought to be smaller than a man's and only needed for child bearing. Why teach a girl to read and write? Joan cannot accept this. She runs away with her older bro
Ana T.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pope Joan is a figure I was aware of but knew next to nothing about, her existence is surrounded by mystery and so she seems the ideal figure to write a historical fiction novel about. Author Donna Woolfolk Cross writes an interesting tale about what could have been a young girl's life in that time.

Daughter of a canon who values women little and definitely finds them unworthy of an education her Joan has to struggle from early on to pursue her studies. Luckily she finds a monk willing to help he
Marina Finlayson
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a novelisation of the life of the probably-real female pope, Pope Joan. So few records remain that historians cannot agree on whether she actually existed, and the "facts" of her life are few, so the author had lots of scope for invention. Her use, more than once, of amazing coincidences to get Joan out of trouble bothered me, but I couldn't fault the historical side of the novel. She obviously did a lot of research, and has recreated the look and feel of an often-overlooked part of his ...more
Apr 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so torn while reading this book. It was decent writing, the characters were strong--but there were a few problems for me. Everyone was a caricature with the exception of Joan. What I really hated, though, was how the author took a great possibility of a story and turned it into flaming feminist rhetoric. Every favorite feminist theme was there, from rape and abuse to abortion. Why can't smart girls sew and cook as well as dumb ones? And why isn't it OK to be dumb, for that matter, if you'r ...more
Carole P. Roman
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning story about the first alleged female Pope. Donna Woolfolk Cross takes a thousand year old legend and writes a compelling back story that left me with many questions. Pope Joan begins her life as a precocious English child with a thirst for knowledge who eventually fools everyone to become Pope. Steeped in history, Cross explains how this happened with a fascinating tale of ambition and adventure. A great read, she describes many common practices that the leaders of the church follow tod ...more
Quis, quid, quomondo, ubi, quando, cur?

Quis — siapa?

Namanya Joan. Dilahirkan tahun 814 Masehi di Ingelheim (sekarang di wilayah Jerman). Putri satu-satunya seorang kanon (semacam pendeta atau imam) dari Inggris dan istrinya yang orang Saxon. Punya dua kakak laki-laki, Matthew dan John. Dari kecil sudah menampakkan kecerdasan dan keingintahuan yang luar biasa. Joan menderita siksaan fisik dari ayahnya gara-gara hal itu, tapi toh ia tidak mau berhenti belajar.

Quid — apa?

Perjuangan Joan, yang den
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Donna Woolfolk Cross graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 with a B.A. in English. She moved to London, England, after graduation, and worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house on Fleet Street, W.H. Allen and Company. Upon her return to the United States, Cross worked at Young and Rubicam, a Madison Avenue advertising firm, before goin ...more
More about Donna Woolfolk Cross...
“As for will, woman should be considered superior to man for Eve ate of the apple for love of knowledge and learning, but Adam ate of it merely because she asked him.” 61 likes
“There was always a way, when one knew what one wanted.” 35 likes
More quotes…