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Who Cooked the Last Supper?: The Women's History of the World

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  951 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Men dominate history because men write history. There have been many heroes, but no heroines. This is the book that overturns that "phallusy of history," giving voice to the true history of the world — which, always and forever, must include the contributions of millions of unsung women. Here is the history you never learned — but should have!

Without politics or polemics,
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ebook, 352 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Crown (first published 1988)
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Amanda Patterson
Every girl, and every boy, should have to read this as a textbook at school. Women have changed the world. Someone's just forgotten to write it down.This is one of my top 3 books of all time. It is entertaining, horrifying, unbelievable and well-researched. Women need to take back the power that patriarchal society and religion has taken from them. Miles does not flinch as she unravels a history that too few know about.
Carly
Overall, this book was full of interesting information, stories & facts. Unfortunately, the interesting bits could have been strung together much more artfully, and with a more nuanced perspective on race and colonialism.

I couldn't help but notice that this women's history was primarily a history of white women, though Miles never explicitly says this. Women of color are discussed throughout, but predominantly as an afterthought. This is most noticeable when Miles discusses what it was like
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El
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The F-word
No, really, who did cook the Last Supper?

Okay, spoiler-alert. You don't actually find out who cooked the Last Supper. Bummer, I know. But that's not really the point. The point is that women have been a part of the historical landscape across the world for-freaking-ever, and no one really thinks about it that much because, well, they're not really portrayed that often in the Bible as any central characters - they're just slaves and whores and shit. And so often the history books (written by a bu
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Amy
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think those who have claimed this book as biased are missing the forest for the trees. Of course it's biased. It's called "The Women's History of the World." Most accounts of history are biased in some form or another.

This book is mild in its bias; I've read other books that are far more scathing of the opposition.

That said, this was refreshing in its unforgiving nature. It's made me look at all accounts of history with a sharper eye.

For example, just last night, after finishing this book,
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Book-Bosomed  blog
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to tackle this one a little differently, but hopefully this format will be most helpful...

4.5 Stars

Who should read this book? (view spoiler) If you're still not convinced, it's Women's History Month so take a chance.

Genre: Non-fiction/World History/ Women’s History/Gender Studies

What does this book cover? This book is organized into 4 sections with 3 chapters each.

Part one (“In the Be
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Bianca
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women especially and those men brave enough to read it!!
I have always believed in equal rights/opportunites for everyone, regardless of race or gender, but I have never been a raging feminist. I felt like one when reading this book!! It made me so proud to be a woman, so appreciative of those that came and fought before me... It was nice to see what all (in a nutshell) women have contributed to mankind's society and culture.
Lea
Dec 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Already in the introduction, there are some ridiculous passages about how, unlike women, male black slaves weren't raped (sis...), and neither were men during the Bosnian genocide (have I got news for YOU).

She engages in some oppression Olympics ("the Taliban laws for women were worse than the Nazi laws for Jews!").

And weirdly dismisses the achievements of Jacqueline Onassis and Lady Di as "famous only through the men they married, and not for any talent of their own" (direct quote). Listen, I
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Toria Burrell-Hrencecin
This spoke to me more than I expected it would. It revealed alot of fascinating history that I knew very little about. It also profoundly influenced and solidified my views of religion. It's the sort of thought provoking book that I wish everyone would read, especially intelligent women.
Surprisingly, it does not contradict the philosophy of Ayn Rand (whose writing I discovered at the same time as reading this book). Infact it compliments it. Rosalind Miles is a "feminist" but so was Ayn Rand (i
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Louise
2 stars

An outdated, white-feminist history of the world heavy influenced by the author's belief in a bullshit, disproved, mythology of of a prehistoric matriarchal utopia. Gets more interesting (but also more western-focused) as it reaches the more modern sections dealing with women's suffrage and contraceptive rights.

There is a lot of bad history here, a number of factual mistakes, cultural ignorance, and a lack of intersectinslity. BUT, I do appreciate that this was written back in 1988 (makin
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Fatima
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had one reservation about the book that stopped me from giving it the five stars that it deserves. In the chapter about religion as a form of oppression against women, the author had taken quotes and stories from Islam out of context, and without any evidence, using it to prove her point. As a Muslim, I can only speak about Islam, however it seemed that author was blatantly against any form of religion and made it her mission to talk about how it oppressed women. I became skeptical of most of ...more
Deb
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the most entertaining and illuminating book I've read on women's history. I have gone back to it often & highly recommend it. Read it with a highlighter in hand if you are a history buff, you will find many women's lives vibrantly outlined here and you'll want to explore some in more detail. A far reaching view of human history from women's perspective. Miles' generous humour is peppered throughout making this a fun read - and so a terrific book for the young feminists (of any gen ...more
Aljoša
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by quoting Rosalind Miles:
"Yet some would say, why women's history at all? Surely men and women have always shared a world, and suffered together all its rights and wrongs? It is a common belief that whatever the situation, both sexes faced it alike. But the male peasant, however cruelly oppressed, always had the right to beat his wife. The black slave had to labor for the white master by day, but he did not have to service him by night as well. This grim pattern continues to this
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Spuddie
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nonfiction history, from ancient to modern times, as it relates to women’s place in history. Spans the gamut from religious to political history, and this book is difficult to read without getting quite angry at times, me being a woman and all, and a majority of the book being about how women have been second-class citizens since, as the author wryly puts it, ‘the rise of the phallus.’ Viewed as simply man’s property for much of recorded history, women have had to fight tooth and nail for basic ...more
Katie
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great breakdown of the history of women from a woman's perspective. A great reminder to take historical texts with the grain of salt of their predominately patriarchal bias! But the biases within Miles' work are also clear and sometimes glaring; she is a British white woman and the text illuminates that. Especially in the later chapters, the focus is mostly on white women with women of color as an after thought, or very generalized. The anti-religious bias (particularly anti-Muslim bias) is glar ...more
Susanj
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cannot recommend this book enough! STRONGLY RECOMMEND. It will be required reading for my daughters once they are older. Is it always easy to read? Nope. Saw a review that was less than favorable, claiming it was depressing, and Ms. Miles detailing of FGM made them want to get sick. To that I say- "I'd hope so."

It is 2014 and it is too late in the history of the world to close our eyes to the very real atrocities that continue to go on. FGM, gender selective abortions, female infanticide, domes
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David
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a good book my wife recommended I read. It could easily be several volumes were it not just an introduction to the history of women, but it was worthwhile read. Unsurprisingly, there is a huge amount of oppression, misogyny, and dominion in this history, the parts about genital mutilation and other forms of torture were very graphic and horrific. There seemed to be no end of justifications why women shouldn't have rights that were first enforced through religion, and then sham 'science,' ...more
Madison
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost: any book that says it's the women's history of the world should be a hell of a lot bigger than this.

Second, I really wanted to like this book. This is exactly the sort of book I want: the glimpses of women in between what men have told us about history. However, the language, the assumptions, the complete binary thinking used here made it horrible for me. There were tons of interesting tidbits, but I'd rather have one of those little fact books than sift through this for the
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Michele
Miles undertakes a worthy and epic project, but unfortunately is not up to the task. As history, it's a mess. In her defense, some of the data on early "matriarchies" has only come to light since the book was originally published. However, Miles quotes Merlin Stone and Robert Graves to demonstrate history! She truly believes chastity belts were used in the middle ages. This is some very lazy fact checking or willful ignorance. The book uses a parallelism approach that hasn't been in vogue since ...more
Heathen
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly infuriating. It was unfathomable how many emotions I went through reading this. There is quite a flurry of information to digest...but of course that's why it's called the Women's History of the World. I would certainly suggest this to any empowered female...and especially those that need empowering. Every female can benefit from a little rage now & then to remind them what they are capable of.

This book ctually kicked-off a reading frenzy one weekend. I devoured 4 books of compara
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Abilouise
Ok, so I didn't finish it. The first bit, the prehistory bit, was like a bedtime story, and then it sort of bogged down for me in the "everything has sucked for women for the past few thousand years" part, mostly because I feel pretty confident that I have a general idea of how huge of a bummer they have been. I appreciate the work she did, but I probably won't come back to the really bummer chapters.
Jemma
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tour de force of a generally bleak picture. Even amongst slaves, guess who gets the worst of it. However, there are a few errors of fact here. Just minor things like dates, which could be typos, but they could do with tidying up as the detractors will no doubt use them to criticise this thesis.
Ginger
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. I think it is important for all women to get a taste of the female view on history. Each chapter was well written and interesting. I have bought several copies for Christmas presents. I did truly enjoy this, and would recommend it.
Rebecca
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do I really need to explain how much I loved this book? Of course, one should always be aware of an author's possible bias and agenda (as well as one's own) when reading something like this, but Rosalind Miles has pretty good credentials and it's a fascinating read. Two thumbs up!
Maracujia
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forse un po' estremo, offre buoni spunti di riflessione sul nostro passato ma soprattutto su come vorremmo il nostro futuro.
Courtney
I consider myself a proud feminist, but even I found this book, while interesting, to be a little too angry for my liking.
Kylie
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read. Every female should read it.
侯 二六
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sold
這本書若當作女性主義的著作可以看看—當然從一個女性的角度來說該書內容頗大快人心,但要當作歷史或婦女史/性別史的專業著作……翻翻就好,不用太認真(游擊隊女孩的西洋藝術史考據可能還確切些)。作者只是雜抄一些資料,因之分析起來非常空泛,例如:

頁90:「希臘作家波西狄普斯(Posidippus)在公元二世紀注意到,古代中國人中……」這位希臘作家來過中國?

頁92:「在前封建中國,每年都要選出一位女性當『河神的新娘』……這位女性在一年增胖、美容後……」史記西門豹傳?

頁108:「所有的這些體系—猶太教、儒學、佛教、基督教及伊斯蘭教—都是以「神聖」、『神的啟示在男性間傳遞的結果』之面貌出現……」儒家跟神的啟示的關係是?

頁111:「意指『祖先』的中國字較早時有『陽物』之涵意,而此字在更早期,據最古老、神聖的銅器及遺骨上所見,意指『地』……從女神/地母崇拜脫胎而出的過程。」第一,是那個漢字?作者自己可能也不清楚。第二,跳躍性思考。

頁123:「日本八世紀《枕草子》……」清少納言不是十世紀的人嗎?

頁126:「孔夫子於公元前四七八年去世後,迅速傳遍中國及遠東的儒家……」好一個「迅速傳遍」啊。

頁149:「在革
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Dalyn
Sometimes a book comes along that you realize you have spent your entire life waiting for. This book felt like the answer to a question I didn't even know I was asking.

We've all heard that old adage: history is written by the victors. What I think few of us realize, for most of our lives, though, is that the "victors," for most of history, have been men, and the story they have told is the story they wanted told: partial, exclusive, narrow, one-sided. We all realize that history is subjective an
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Anita Fajita Pita
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anita by: The F-Word
Shelves: 2016, educate-myshelf
This was an amazing history of civilization with the focus on women. It just went through civilization and the spread of humankind across the globe and instead of assuming everyone is male, it focused on adding women into the picture. Unfortunately, our own history is so focused on men that to do this, Miles had to add women to man's history. So even a Women's Studies history book on women has a more equal distribution to the sexes than a "normal" history book taught in schools. I'm not talking ...more
Jacob
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, let's get it out of the way right now, I am NOT a mysoginist. That said, I hated this book. I had to read this for history class. I would never have read this book for any other reason. I like history. It is very interesting. However, the creativity with which the author writes could be likened to that of a statement-reason proof. As the chapters blur, the writing takes on a formulaic edge: men are evil when, women did this how, they were oppressed again like this, and so on. I sincerely r ...more
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The F-word: June NON-FICTION selection WHO COOKED THE LAST SUPPER? 24 53 Jul 15, 2016 10:49AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Change description 2 19 Feb 24, 2016 07:30AM  
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Rosalind Miles is an author born and raised in England and now living in both Los Angeles and Kent, England. She has written both works of fiction and non-fiction. As a child, Miles suffered from polio, and had to undergo several months of treatment. After being accepted to a junior women's college, Miles acquired a working knowledge of Latin and Greek, along with developing her life-long love of ...more
More about Rosalind Miles...
“Yet some would say, why women's history at all? Surely men and
women have always shared a world, and suffered together all its rights
and wrongs? It is a common belief that whatever the situation, both
sexes faced it alike. But the male peasant, however cruelly oppressed,
always had the right to beat his wife. The black slave had to labor for
the white master by day, but he did not have to service him by night as well. This grim pattern continues to this day, with women bearing an extra ration of pain and misery whatever the circumstances, as the
sufferings of the women of war-torn Eastern Europe will testify. While
their men fought and died, wholesale and systematic rape—often
accompanied by the same torture and death that the men suffered—
was a fate only women had to endure. Women's history springs from
moments of recognition such as this, and the awareness of the difference is still very new. Only in our time have historians begun to look at the historical experience of men and women separately, and to
acknowledge that for most of our human past, women's interests have been opposed to those of men. Women's interests have been opposed by them, too: men have not willingly extended to women the rights and freedoms they have claimed for themselves. As a result, historical advances have tended to be "men only" affairs. When history concentrates solely on one half of the human race, any alternative truth or reality is lost. Men dominate history because they write it, and their accounts of active, brave, clever or aggressive females constantly tend to sentimentalize, to mythologize or to pull women back to some perceived "norm." As a result, much of the so-called historical record is
simply untrue.”
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“Every revolution is a revolution of ideas-yet to innovate is not reform.” 1 likes
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