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Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  662 ratings  ·  85 reviews
‘A litany of fresh heroes to make the embattled heart sing’ Caitlin Moran

A fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn’t.

In this freewheeling history of modern Britain, Cathy Newman writes about the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; women who
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 4th 2018 by William Collins
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  662 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Start your review of Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Women have been forced to live with being made to feel like the inferior sex for centuries, but boy am I glad that people are now attempting to set the record straight. I am a huge proponent of equality whether that be surrounding gender, race, religion, or anything else for that matter, so this book was right up my street and we certainly need many more like it! Intelligence and achievement are not reliant on being a particular gender, and although we have made some consistent progress, there i ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Imi by: A gift from a friend
Cathy Newman will be well known to any Brit as a presenter on Channel 4 News. She's a wonderful storyteller, knows how to present a lot of information in an engaging manner, and you can feel her enthusiasm for the topic, women across British history, buzzing through the pages.

For an in depth analysis of history and the lives of these women, this is not your book. The book is structured with fairly long chapters, but within in theses chapters names fly by and are mentioned, perhaps, only in pass
Liv Abrams
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Please view this as a 3.5 star rating. Spanning over 100 years, this is an interesting introduction to many of the amazing women who’ve shaped British history. It’s detailed and well-researched. Most of the women featured only get a couple of paragraphs each, which at times meant I wasn’t very engaged as it was a bit of an information overload. However I do think this helped keep the book fast-paced. If I was more interested in history, I think I’d have appreciated it more in general.

If you like
Shalini | Book Rambler
This is a bloody brilliant book that I would recommend and could gift to anybody. This book gives an account of some women and the ways in which they contributed to British history.

I was a bit confused in the beginning. I did not understand how the book was structured. In the end,I would say that I liked reading about the women and their involvements because they are so overlooked in history books.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher for providing me with an ARC
While I did find this book very informative and an interesting read, I was put off slightly by the length of the early chapters (exceeding an hour of reading time with no nice break points) and the style of writing which jumped from one person to the next without division or separation. I know this seems a minor issue but to really be able to understand the achievements of each of these brilliant women it would've been worth spacing them out a bit so they stand alone in all their glory rather th ...more
More like 3.5
It is really amazing but it felt like test books plus it foucs alot in (there some but not) of able boudy women and cis women.
But I wish there was a list of the women in here.
Lucy Reynolds
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book covering the achievements of so many women I didn't have a clue about. I was incensed after just a few pages, which continued up till the end of the book (taking us up to early 2018). However, as Newman concludes, as she mentions just some of the awesome women in so many areas of our lives today, that there is hope for even more Bloody Brilliant Women, thanks to the work of the Bloody Brilliant Women described in this book. An essential read.
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are some great reviews on this book so I know I buck the trend with mine
I just found it hard to engage with the women she spoke about when in the first three quarters it felt like just a passing comment or paragraph on many of these amazing women. The last quarter was very much a potted history of Britain, which was interesting but, didn’t mention even half as many women
Also her political opinions infringed at times and were very obvious
Found my self speed reading and skimming a lot
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Cathy Newman is a Brit and this book is about Brilliant British women so she totally ignored the American influence of Cady Stanton, Anthony and Moffett but likes Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique c. 1963 and gives that far more value that the Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex c. 1949 which is just wrong; Friedans book relies heavily on de Beauviors work which is a sociological classic. She also ignores and I do not understand this at all, Florence Nightingale.

I do not understand how sh
Michael Huang
A history of women obtaining equal rights in Britain. Women started as property of men. A 1798 novel depicting a woman unjustly locked up in a mental asylum and losing custody of her child is an all-too-true account of women’s fate back then. It took a law in 1884 to explicit forbid a husband from locking his wife up at home for punishment for refusing sex. By WWI, women were needed to work in factories and even in the battlefield as nurses. One such nurse died under German firing squad and beca ...more
This is an absolutely fascinating book for anyone who has an interest in social history - I have learnt so much about women who should be at the front of History but at times have not had the recognition of their male counterparts. It is written in a greatly informative and friendly style. A perfect read!
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually pick up non-fiction but in honour of International Women's Day coming up I thought i'd give this a go. It was interesting, I hadn't heard of many of the women featured, and the ones I did know were barely touched upon in history class at school. It made me think, it sometimes made me mad (the history, not the book itself). Excellent read.
Michele Brooker
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A celebration of brilliant women through the centuries, from the Saxon women who were near equal to men and had influence and freedom of intervention in public affairs, up to the present day. A twenty first century of #MeToo, the public movement against sexual abuse and harassment of women by powerful and prominent men; and #HeForShe the male ally ship for gender equality. Where did it all go wrong for women in between? The equality women had in the Saxons, lost and despite spending centuries fi ...more
Sophie Rayton
This book delivers what was promised. If not heard of most of the women and stories told. It's sectioned by timeline rather than by person which allowed for a better flow I suppose but sometimes made it unclear which woman we were supposed to be thinking was bloody brilliant at any given time.
Rosanna Threakall
Jun 30, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNFing but counting it as read as I got over 2/3s through and has been on my currently reading for almost 4 months. Just not jamming with it and need to move on.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy.

This book certainly delivered on the promise it made on the cover to highlight the "bloody brilliant women: the pioneers, revolutionaries and geniuses your history teacher forgot to mention." Indeed the scale of female involvement in many great moments and inventions of the past 200 years that have been brushed over is quite staggering. I applaud Newman for her extensive research and her obvious passion for this project which is displayed throughout the b
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bloody Brilliant Women took a couple of pages to get into, then I couldn’t put it down. I loved the way it was packed full of information and it felt like it was well structured, but one minute you are reading about one woman, then a paragraph on your have seamlessly skipped to another amazing story about someone completely different, so I needed to warm up to that. I feel so much of history focuses on women who, from their born or married status, were in the position to do something notable so ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot, it made me think a lot, but at times there was an overwhelming amount of information and I felt I couldn't take it all in. I'd love to read a global version of this book too.
Jemima Pett
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
If your history is occasionally a bit wonky, then you may have trouble placing the events and people in context in this book.  Some of the older historical accounts of women you really should know more about are well framed. Later it becomes somewhat confusing, and is more an account of what women did in the two world wars than about individuals. The author uses these events to talk about the trends in feminism and progress towards equality than specific achievements by pioneers and geniuses.

A Reader
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Until 1948, women who graduated from Cambridge University were denied the honour of graduating with a full degree that would make them members of the university. Their name were not on the degree ceremony list. Women graduates should be satisfied with mailed university certificates, a titular degree.

70 years on, and women are shattering one glass ceiling after another. There are still obstacles to overcome but there is a lot to celebrate and reflect on. Breaking the silences surrounding patriarc
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
UK readers may be familiar with Cathy Newman from her role as journalist and presenter on Channel Four’s nightly news programme. She has a very direct but completely amicable style that often disarms the people that she interviews. This easygoing style translates into her written prose and what could be a dull and dry subject is a lively journey through the ages.

My only real gripe with this book celebrating great women in history is the cover. A terribly misleading choice of artwork that has mor
Jo-anne Atkinson
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Over the past one hundred and fifty years there have been women at the forefront of all major events in history and promoting social change in the UK. Unfortunately history has tended to have a male-centric view of events and therefore the contribution of women has not really been emphasised. In this polemic Cathy Newman gives the reader a taste of some of these groundbreakers and influencers. It's a fast-paced book and leaves the reader wanting to know a lot more about some!
Gayle Noble
Sometimes it can feel as if women have been airbrushed out of history, and this book is an excellent start for anyone wishing to remedy the lack of focus on female achievement. From some of the less well-known suffragettes, through the lives of the women who worked at Bletchley, to the female MPs of today, the author looks at the changing life of women since the Enlightenment.

Many things have changed of course, but it is disheartening to see how some things have stayed the same; women facing mis
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I expected this to be another series of profiles of overlooked but amazing women - it isn't. It's a sweep through the canon of British history of the last 150 years, deftly writing women's contributions back in to all the places the standard narrative has left them out. It was a good and refreshing read, and I learnt a lot. I was impressed by the consistent use of women historians, social researchers and writers as sources - not to the exclusion of their male counterparts, but in a way that show ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
After reading the reviews I was expecting to be wowed by this book, but it just didn’t happen. I wasn’t expecting it to be written like a history books timeline fashion, but more each chapter developed to different brilliant women and their stories. It was just like reading any old history book, granted, with the emphasis being on the heroines but I found myself wanting to know more about someone of these women in more details, not the skimmed details the book did provide. I suppose it does illu ...more
Stacey Bookerworm
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention by Cathy Newman is thoroughly researched and incredibly interesting.

Read more of this review here:
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

My husband recently bought my daughter the children’s book, Fantastically Great Women Who Made History, written by Kate Pankhurst.
After reading it with her I remember thinking two things ‘yay for my husband’ and ‘I wish there was something like this for adults’.
BEHOLD, Bloody Brilliant Women.
Journalist and presenter Cathy Newman has plugged a gap in the market and I, for one, am incredibly grateful.
I can’t remember learning about any women in my humanities lessons, although I’m sure
Book Ichor
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A well researched and fairly extensive overview of “Bloody brilliant women. Pioneers, revolutionaries and geniuses your history teacher forgot to mention”, Cathy Newman touches upon various women and the ways they contributed to British history.

This is not a small book as Newman breaks 300+ pages into just 8 chapters, covering 1880 to 2017. I would have liked the chapters to be broken up a little more, and there were a few times where I lost the thread when Newman talks about several women in q
Becca Housden
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
I enjoyed this book as an overview of the last 100 years, with it referencing a number of inspiring women and organisations. Although the scope of the book meant that it was unable to go into much depth, it was interesting to see the growth of women’s rights and the development of the feminist movement.
I do feel that the book sometimes jumped around a bit when it came to dates due to the combination of trying to organise the book both chronologically and by individual profiles.
Towards the end t
Laura Newsholme
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully immersive exploration of some of the women who trail blazed a path through modern history. Newman writes with authority and empathy about the women that history has forgotten, along with examining some of the reasons why and I found it absolutely fascinating. There were definitely some women here that should be more well known but I also appreciated the discussion around figures such as Margaret Thatcher and the contributions such figures made (or didn't make) to the femin ...more
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Catherine Elizabeth Newman is an English journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News.

Newman began her career as a newspaper journalist, and had spells at Media Week, The Independent, the Financial Times and The Washington Post. She has worked on Channel 4 News since 2006, initially as a correspondent and, since 2011, as a presenter.

Newman was long-listed for the Orwell Prize (Journalism) in 2010 an

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