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Who Cooked the Last Supper?: The Women's History of the World
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GROUP READS > June NON-FICTION selection WHO COOKED THE LAST SUPPER?

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message 1: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) Our non-fiction selection this month is Who Cooked the Last Supper?: The Women's History of the World by Rosalind Miles. This "Women's History of the World" looks absolutely amazing! Who's planning on reading this this month with us?


message 2: by Chantelle (new) - added it

Chantelle | 7 comments My Amazon order is on its way....looking forward to this


message 3: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Library copy in hand! (Well, sitting on the back of my couch at home, anyway...)

Hope to start soon.


message 4: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) I've got a copy of this waiting for me on hold at the library!


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I got mine too, starting soon :)


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I finished Part I, and I have to admit that it is frustrating in the sense that it merely highlights how woman has been swept under the rug of history. It took a little while for me to understand the flow of the book, and at times the tone is angry and cynical, but she has a pretty impressive vernacular for phallic turn of phrase that I find quite amusing.

Although it is meant to represent the insertion of women back into history, (i guess) it can't be helped but to compare and contrast with man's history and man's way of eliminating women and women's power in and from history. In fact, this is probably the general theme of Part I. It was pretty interesting to me as a vague history of some pagan cultures and the evolution of early religions.

Anyone else read this yet?


message 7: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Haven't started it yet, Anita, it's been a crummy month for me with work, which cuts into my reading energy. :/ But I am still planning on reading it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts up to this point. I especially look forward to the (albeit vague) history of pagan cultures. It sounds interesting, but glad for the warning on the tone as sometimes that can especially rub me the wrong way when i'm not expecting it while reading.


message 8: by Candace (new)

Candace | 35 comments I've read this a couple of times, though it has been a number of years. I remember this as being my awakening to the idea that history really is written by the ones with the power. I was still in college the first time I read "Who Cooked the Last Supper?" and so the information that Miles presented was new to me. I don't know if any of you remember what it's like to have knowledge dropped on you, but this was like a whole new world opening up to me (I realize how cheesy this sounds but IT'S TRUE). I enjoyed the tone she used throughout the book, I get the cynicism. It's hard not to be when it comes to the fact that the only people aware of the role that women have played throughout history are the women who happen to be interested in this subject or feminist scholars. Maybe there are other people but I'm drawing a blank as to what other groups where care about women's history.

Anyway I've always loved this book, and if it weren't for a big move at the end of the month and the fact that this book is packed away already I'd be reading it again.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
Candace, I know exactly what you mean about having some knowledge dumped on you and having that feeling like ahhhhmygawdhowdidInotknowthat and so many things click and make sense. It happened to me in a history class when the teacher took three seconds to explain to us how ridiculous it is to lump all Native Americans together as one group when the different tribes were so drastically far apart in geological and environmental terms.

The concept of this book isn't new to me like that, but on the opposite side of the spectrum, it's very close to my heart because my very first feminist thoughts (although I didn't know they were feminist; I was maybe 6 or 7) and arguments were with my family about how the Bible couldn't possibly be God's word because God is God and better than man on Earth and I refused to believe that he would be misogynistic (again, I didn't know this word or term at the time) to create society so unequal. At the time I accepted God's existence but rejected man's delivery.

So anyways, in that sense, this book is super interesting to me. I just started the evolution/creation of Christianity though and it's progressively more horrifying for the female half of the species. I'm working through medieval "remedies" and witch hunts at the moment. Fun stuff. But seriously, very interesting to me.


message 10: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
You guys are making me so excited to read this. I am just about to start it now since I finished Stone Butch Blues a few mins ago. I have high hopes for this one too.


message 11: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim (jkmfilms) | 46 comments This looks fascinating! I'm going to have to get this one...


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I finished this last night. I can't even really describe this book in its entirety because it is so, so, info dense. It is literally a history of civilization focused on women compressed into a super dense yet not even scratching the surface enough book. I can see this as a big textbook with pics and spreads and everything.

One thing that frustrates me is how odd it seems to me to read a history book focused on women when my whole life I've read history books that were "naturally" focused on men, and when there were little asides in some sections that gave a paragraph to stop and talk about the women specifically it was always a little treat. Ugh.

There were times that I thought this book was covering too much ground in too little space and would have really liked to read more about certain subjects, but honestly, that was probably just me, and it covered so much in such a small page number. Geographically and historically, I'm impressed with how much is between these pages, have I said that?


message 13: by Candace (new)

Candace | 35 comments Anita wrote: "I finished this last night. I can't even really describe this book in its entirety because it is so, so, info dense. It is literally a history of civilization focused on women compressed into a sup..."

I know what you mean about reading textbooks! Once during a philosophy class, I remarked how we were reading so few texts written by female philosophers. His response was that since this was an Intro class, it was necessary to read the well-known philosophers. This has always stuck with me, because in my opinion it is examples like this which perpetuate the patriarchal society we live in. As Miles' book shows history IS full of women who have played important roles. Why do we have to relegate them to women's book clubs, or women's studies?


message 14: by Alexa (last edited Jun 24, 2016 05:55PM) (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) This is really really good! Why didn't anyone tell me? (Um, that was sort of supposed to be a joke....)

I am really enjoying her writing style. I went into this thinking something along the lines of "been there, done that," but this is amazingly fresh. Maybe not exactly new, but put together in a way I've never seen before. I'm just eagerly reading all this stuff about women gathering and childrearing and having periods. The oestrus theory of evolution. YES!


message 15: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) I am ashamed of how many times she made me giggle in the chapter about the rise of the phallus! "In Greece, phalluses sprang up everywhere, like dragon's teeth."

But the image of woman's shift from the source of all life to simply a field waiting to be ploughed is so stark!


message 16: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim (jkmfilms) | 46 comments Candace wrote: "...Once during a philosophy class, I remarked how we were reading so few texts written by female philosophers. His response was that since this was an Intro class, it was necessary to read the well-known philosophers. This has always stuck with me, because in my opinion it is examples like this which perpetuate the patriarchal society we live in..."

It's such a vicious cycle!

The only reason those are the "well-known" philosophers is that at some point they were picked by men (because they are men), and now its just a self-fulfilling prophecy...


message 17: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) The chapter on the effects on women's status of the rise of monotheism is fantastic! I can't help wondering how religious folks would view this?


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
Candace wrote: "As Miles' book shows history IS full of women who have played important roles. Why do we have to relegate them to women's book clubs, or women's studies?..."

Exactly. and as Jim says, it's a vicious cycle. This history should be taught in all classes, not just women's or gender studies. I think I made a remark in my review about how this "women's studies" book gives a more equal platform to men than even a "standard" history textbook gives to women (at least in my time).

Alexa, I don't even know. But I had the same thoughts. God proves to be quite bleak for women, and it just gets worse...

*I'm hiding my next comment because I don't want to add my opinion as bias for anyone who hasn't finished this book!*
(view spoiler)


message 19: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) "Of those who sailed in the historic Mayflower voyage of 1620, the names of the Pilgrim Fathers are memorialized in stone on the Plymouth quayside - of the eighteen women who sailed too, there is no mention." Why did I never know this?! And why, of all the horrors that are discussed here, does this one infuriate me in such a personal way?


message 20: by Stef (new) - added it

Stef Rozitis | 71 comments I so desperately want to read this one! Have to wait!


message 21: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) "The extent to which the mass media of the twentieth century have served to replace the older instruments of dominance and restraint in the perennial patriarchal work of keeping women subordinate has yet to be fully acknowledged."

"All democratic experiments, all revolutions, all demands for equality have so far, in every instance, stopped short of sexual equality."

I found this ended just as powerfully as it began. I'm so glad I read this!


message 22: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) I had an ah-hah moment about the title of this (which may seem completely obvious to everyone else). I realized that all along I was assuming that "The Women's History of the World" meant a discussion of how women had contributed to history as we know it, the unknown women who have been brushed under the rug. But then I realized that she didn't mean to imply that at all; rather this is a history of women's status, of what it has meant to be a woman throughout history. Or in other words, a history of patriarchy.


message 23: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
I finished this a few days ago and have been accruing quite a library fine since I haven't been motivated to return it (don't ask, haha, just life).

I enjoyed the read, but am still mulling it over. Miles is an incredible writer - I don't think I've read anything by her before. I believe she did a ton of research for this book, and I was surprised by a lot of the details I learned from reading it, and shocked that I didn't know these things sooner. Like the bit near the beginning, or in the Intro maybe, about Joan of Arc - was she really killed because she wore men's clothes? I'm interested in Joan's story, but am ashamed to say I obviously haven't done enough research before to know if that's definitive, though I think I have heard rumblings along those lines before.

Other things that I did know, but were good to see discussed in so much detail (like Female Genital Mutilation) is great, because the more candid discussion the better, as hard as it is to face the reality that this exists in our world (and much closer to many of us than we might realize).

I had the same ah-hah moment as you did, Alexa. It was a startling realization, but not unwelcome.

I do wish more people would read this. I hadn't heard of it before we chose it here, but there's so much great information which, of course, isn't discussed in the classroom setting because, well, when is women's history, or women's status throughout history, ever really discussed in a classroom setting? :/ I keep hoping to hear that's changed.


message 24: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) The bit about wearing men's clothing also came across pretty strongly in Stone Butch Blues. They weren't being killed for it by that point, just arrested and then gang-raped.

I agree, this was a wonderful read. I really enjoyed Miles' writing style and I am so glad we read it, because it is extremely unlikely I would ever have come across it without this group. Thanks to all of you!


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