4,000 Years of Uppity Women by Vicki Leon Available for around $11.00
There is one aisle I should never, ever visit at Barnes and Noble; but oh the treasurers I would miss. I really can’t walk into one of those stores without browsing up and down the bargain aisle. Not only are there delightful treasures, but they are at such tempting prices. Even though I’m now in publishing and know what those discounts mean to the author; well, they’re irresistible. This past week I finally had an opportunity to check out one of those bargains and had a few much needed giggles.
Leon has created a little book of vignettes about the life and times of a number of women from the past. This is a rollicking quick read. It is obviously well researched. You are introduced to the antics of ruler and slave, mistress and bored wife, business woman, intellectual, highway robber, patriot, nun and scoundrel. Some of these women were way ahead of their time; some just made the best use possible of the available resources. Here are a few of these windows on the past.
Fabiola, an early Christian. Long before the Nightingale of the Crimean war, Fabiola established the first free public hospital in the Western world. She didn’t wait for her patients to come to her – she went out and found them.
Back in the time of Alchemists, and interesting lady named Mary Prophetissa not only contributed much to the science of chemistry, she is the inventor of the double boiler. It must have been very helpful boiling and brewing all those potions.
I loved the robbers and pirates, the brave patriots and Australian who arrived as a criminal and ended up on a $20 bill. I learned that Betsy Ross did not create the Old Glory that inspired Francis Scott Key was one Baltimore widow named Mary Young Pickersgill. She created a wool flag that was 42 feet long and 30 feet wide. It used 400 yards of material and weighed 85 pounds. Pickersgill’s handwritten invoice was $405.90.
A couple of other ladies never mentioned in such rousing poetry as Paul Revere is a lady who road on horseback for 10 miles alerting the country folk of an impending attack (Mr. Revere didn’t make it that far) and a Quaker woman who bluffed her way through enemy lines to warn Washington of an impending attack. Never lying through her bluffing or through her integration (evidently the right questions were not asked) she was still kicked out of the Friends for being too involved in the war.
Many bits and pieces of the high and the really low, the celibate and those who found their identity less focused on the opposite sex, or not focused at all. Each and every one had an impact on her times and some far into the future. It’s a great short read and I highly recommend it.