When it comes to women who made history, itís hard to know sometimes whatís fact and whatís fiction. In Scandalous Women, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon sets the record straight for thirty-six of historyís trail-blazing women. Based on Mahonís popular blog by the same name, Scandalous Women tells of the stories of queens, activists, artists, entertainers, mistresses and outlaws, among others.
The book is divided into seven sections: Warrior Queens, Wayward Wives, Scintillating Seductresses, Crusading Ladies, Wild Women of the West, Amorous Artists, and Amazing Adventuresses. Some of the women featured in the book will be familiar to most people, such as Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Mary Wollstonecraft, Calamity Jane, Mata Hari, Billie Holiday, and Amelia Earhart. But even people who recognize these names may not know their stories.
Equally fascinating are the lesser-known women who were rather infamous in their time. There was Lady Caroline Lamb, who obsessively pursued Lord Byron to the point of madness after a brief love affair. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read valiantly attempted to defend their ship from attack while their male shipmates were cowering, drunk, in the cargo hold.
This book is a quick read, since Mahon provides only brief glimpses into each of these womenís lives. Despite that, she offers enough details about each woman and her contribution to history that the reader wonít feel unsatisfied. In fact, I felt compelled to do further research.
Mahonís witty, accessible style also makes this a pleasure to read. Scandalous Women is ideal for people who love history, especially womenís history, but donít like dry, scholarly history books.