Herstory: Women Who Changed the World

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9780670854349: Herstory: Women Who Changed the World

A very special collection of short biographies offers insightful sketches of the lives and accomplishments of 150 of history's most influential and brilliant women, including Clara Barton, the legendary Trung Sisters of medieval Vietnam, and many others.

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Review:

Did you know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had an older sister who was another musical genius? Musicologists even speculate that some compositions attributed to Mozart were actually the work of his sister. Nannerl Mozart is just one example of how women and their accomplishments have been ignored or erased entirely from world history. This important book seeks to amend that gaping absence in history books and popular culture by acknowledging the countless women whose contributions have made a difference to modern society. Arranged chronologically, Herstory offers compelling biographies of 120 women from "The Dawn" (prehistory to 1750) to "Revolution to Revolution" (1750-1850) to "The Global Community" (1890 to the present). The famous, not-so-famous, and infamous are here, including Cleopatra, Sacajawea, Qui Jin, and Golda Meir. Showcasing women's achievements in the arts, politics, science, and medicine--and with an inspiring forward by Gloria Steinem--this book serves up a healthy portion of education, enlightenment, and enjoyment, and should be an essential reference for young women and young men alike. (Ages 11 and older) --Brangien Davis

From Booklist:

The 120 biographies collected here are intended to be representative of the many women whose lives have had an impact on the world. Women of all times, places, and professions are treated. Coeditors Ashby and Ohrn have written many books for young adults (this one is targeted for ages 10 and up) and admirably do justice to the topic and audience.

The book is divided into three periods: "The Dawn: Prehistory to 1750" ; "From Revolution to Revolution: 1750 to 1850" ; and "The Global Community: 1890 to the Present." Each section has an introduction by Ashby (who also wrote a majority of the entries) that summarizes the typical life of women and the status of women's rights in the period. Each two-page biography begins with a quote by or about the woman and includes a black-and-white portrait. The entry summarizes the woman's life and her influence. Sidebars either explain a detail about women's lives (footbinding, women and slavery) or provide information about another influential woman (Isadora Duncan in the entry on Martha Graham) or excerpts from work (Sappho, Zora Neal Hurston). To illustrate the wide variety of time periods, nations, and professions represented, other biographees include Sultana Razia, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Sacajawea, Lakshmi Bai, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Queen Liliuokalana, Anna Pavlova, Wilma Rudolph, Wilma Mankiller, and Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams. There is a nice balance between well-known and relatively unknown women. The book ends with a bibliography; books suggested for further reading are indicated by an asterisk. There are three indexes: geographic, alphabetical and occupational. They list only the biographees, not other names that may appear in entries, and use only the name used for the entry, not alternatives (e.g., Didrikson, Mildred "Babe" rather than Zaharias). Detailed indexing would make this book more useful, but lack of it does not take away from its ultimate value. This is an excellent choice for young adult collections in middle and high schools and public libraries. Its price and content put it on the A list for purchase.

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