Catherine
Catherine asked:

What in this book is new and revelatory? Comic readers have known for years that Marsden invented the lie detector, of his unconventional love life, that Wonder Woman's bracelets and lasso (and her being tied up in most of the early comics) are basically BDSM representations, and the character's ties to early feminism. I heard Lepore's interview on Fresh Air and nothing she said about the book was new to me.

Wdmoor Not being a comic book historian nerd, everything in this book was new and revelatory. I'd never heard of the wonderfully kinky William Moulton Marston, a dilettante of ménages a trois, free love, BDSM and polygamy. Merciful Minerva but he was a bad boy. This book was great fun.
Linda I heard the same Fresh Air interview and knew nothing of this. I thought it was fascinating. Maybe YOU know the whole story, but there are new readers for this tale.
Mike There's a ton of "new" information here, mostly about how directly Margaret Sanger was involved in the life of Marston and his family, and how direct her inspiration was.
Jim I did know a lot of this information but only on "sound bites". This is detailed and wonderfully researched and written. It is amazing to see how much of the Marsten family tale ended up in Wonder Woman (it appears that the ladies of his life had more than a little influence on the writing). I also knew nothing of the Marsten's unconventional life-style and that in and of itself is worth the read, not to mention all of the information about the feminist movement of the early 20th century and how it influenced the comic.
Nathanial Cook
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jamie Unlike Wdmoor, I *am* a comic book historian and there is a whole chapter on Wonder Woman in my thesis on gender & sexuality in comics. Lepore does not add a whole lot of new information, aside from minor details, that wasn't already known. As you have undoubtedly already ascertained, the book is mostly a biography on Marston, and unfortunately very lacking in actual Wonder Woman history. In addition, Lepore just flat out gets some of it wrong. This should be marketed as a biography, not a history of the character.
Ann The deep, direct connections between Marston and his wives and several women who were pioneering feminists and are now historical icons was new to me. Marston was, apparently, directly involved in early efforts to raise the status of women at Harvard and it's connected "girls colleges", less directly with women's suffrage efforts, and was influenced by such speakers as Emmeline Pankhurst. His lover, Olive Byrne, who lived with Marston and his wife Elisabeth Holloway, was the daugher of Ethel Byrne and niece of (and raised by) Margaret Sanger. Marston himself was trained by notable pioneers of American Psychology (and, it seems, did not impress them much). I think Marston's tie-ins with early feminism were the most relevatory information I took from this.
aPriL does feral sometimes All of the book was new to me. I thought it quite a funny story, as in Truth is stranger than fiction. I liked it.
Eric I didn't know M.C. Gaines had a sweet side, for one thing.
Shawna Hunter The book wouldn't have been revolutionary during the second or early third wave of feminism. Today? It's essential. What this book is is a history of feminism from 1910 through the 1970s told through a history of Wonder Woman. It shows what the movement was trying to achieve in those days and how it changed over time. If you look at feminism today and ask yourself "what the hell is this?" Then reading this book will provide you with a fair understanding of what went right and what went wrong.
Eli Bishop I haven't read it yet, but I know what you mean— most of the stuff mentioned in reviews was already out there. But I've also seen reviewers who were more familiar with the subject pointing out that the book does contain some new research; here's one of them (who has some issues with it, but still makes it sound worth reading): http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2014...
Elaine I agree with Wdmoor. If you are not a comic book fan this book is quite fascinating. It's not just about Wonder Woman.
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