They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades

 
9781435296428: They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades
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Throughout history there have been women, endowed with curiosity and abundant spirit, who stepped out of the cave, cast off the shackles of expectation, and struck out for new territory. In this ode to bold, brash, and sometimes just plain dangerous women, Barbara Holland reanimates those rebels who defied convention and challenged authority on a truly grand scale: they traveled the world, commanded pirate ships, spied on the enemy, established foreign countries, scaled 19,000-foot passes, and lobbied to change the Constitution. Some were merry and flamboyant; others depressive and solitary. Some dressed up as men; others cherished their Victorian gowns. Many were ambivalent or absentminded mothers. But every one of them was fearless, eccentric, and fiercely independent. Barbara Holland evokes their energy in this unconventional book that will acquaint you with the likes of Grace O’Malley, a blazing terror of the Irish seas in the 1500s, and surprise you with a fresh perspective on legends like Bonnie Parker of “Bonnie and Clyde” fame. With wit, wisdom, and irreverent flair, They Went Whistling makes a compelling case for the virtue of getting into trouble.

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Review:

They Went Whistling is Barbara Holland's account of history's outstanding, and largely forgotten, females. The women revealed within these pages were driven by passion--for religion, humanity, adventure, politics, and knowledge--that couldn't be curtailed by convention. They were witty, defiant, and, more often than not, beautiful. Shamefully, most of us are unfamiliar with their accomplishments. Holland brings such faces as Joan of Arc, Daisy Bates, Stagecoach Mary, and Mary "Mother" Jones into the same light as Napoleon, Lawrence of Arabia, Billy the Kid, and Frederick Engels.

These women lived fascinating lives. Often it is not their virtuousness that is prized, but their gall and utter disregard for living within societal lines. In the chapter entitled "Menswear," we learn that as a young woman George Sand found that when "dressed as a man, she was treated as a man, and allowed to argue and speak her mind." She henceforth lived a life of androgyny, holding "the peculiar idea that she could be a man as well as a woman, alternately and simultaneously." Then there is the story of Grace O' Malley, an Irish pirate who commandeered her own fleet of plundering ships. And who has produced more rumors and speculation than Amelia Earhart, who "for over two weeks was the most famous person in the world"? Holland also divulges obscure facts and personality traits. For instance, few know that Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde) was an avid romance reader and writer who wrote poems about her adventures. "For Bonnie, crime was the epic ballad she was weaving out of her life."

While the histories are straightforward and detailed, Holland spices these pages with witty and satirical interjections. This book is long overdue and goes far in leveling the historical field of recognition. --Jacque Holthusen

From the Back Cover:

“Deliciously ironic, reliably brainy, steadily informative...a jubilant hop, skip and jump toward rectifying the omission of women from the historical record.”–Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“With humor and style, Holland reveals lives fraught with excitement, danger, passion [and] intrigue.”–USA Today

“Deliciously ironic, reliably brainy, steadily informative . . . a jubilant hop, skip and jump toward rectifying the omission of women from the historical record.” –Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“With humor and style, Holland reveals lives fraught with excitement, danger, passion [and] intrigue.” –USA Today

“Luxuriating in tales worth retelling . . . [Holland] gives herself free rein to speak her mind and break the rules.” –The Washington Post

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780385720021: They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0385720025 ISBN 13:  9780385720021
Publisher: Anchor, 2002
Softcover

9780375420559: They Went Whistling : Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades

Pantheon, 2001
Hardcover