Thursday, November 29, 2012


What a disappointment!  While I didn’t expect this sound-bite version of women in the history of the Americas, Australia, and the South Seas to be thorough and scholarly, I at least thought that Vicki Leon was known for good research.
In that I was wrong.  Many of the subjects were completely unknown to me, and so I cannot speak to their veracity, but on several of the topics in which I am well-versed there were glaring errors, which leads me to think that there were errors in others as well.  That was irritating to me; I wanted to believe these wonderful stories about these women, some heroes, some ordinary women, and some bad girls of history, but I found myself in doubt of the accuracy of the details, and so it made reading their stories almost irrelevant. 

I knew when I picked up the book that the tone was going to be tongue-in-cheek, which was fine-so many people hate history because they had boring teachers in high school who left them snoozing.  What they don’t need however is the opposite extreme.  Ms. Leon simply tries too hard to be captivating, and as a result she is biased in the extreme: against men, organized religion, and marriage, to name a few items that come to mind.

When I began the book, I had thought to pass it along to my nine-year-old daughter, a lover of history who is also quite an advanced reader and who would love the quirky sense of humor.  There is no way I would give her this book.  Chief among my reasons are the historical inaccuracies the book contains, but I also do not want her young mind, not yet able to discern between various biases, absorbing what I can only describe as a “rant”.

I didn’t hate this book; while reading I did get a list of fascinating women whom I intend to look up on my favorite research websites for more reputable, accurate information.  That made it worth my time and bumped it up from a one star read.  If you are interested in going to that extra effort then I recommend reading this one for the exposure it gives you to some interesting women that you might not meet otherwise.  However, if you want a book that you can take at face value, you might want to find a writer who does better research. 

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