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Warrior Women: 3000 Years of Courage and Heroism [Hardcover]

Rosalind Miles , Robin Cross
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 20.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Mar 2011

From earliest times, women gained access to leadership in times of conflict and proved themselves equal to the challenge of commanding during war. Women leaders abounded in the ancient world from Ireland to Israel, sometimes through the accident of birth, but often rising to power through naked opportunism and raw courage in the ranks - and it is no accident that women war leaders, like men, are often famous for their strong sexual drive. Wherever there is war, there has often been a woman at the helm. Later ages frequently wrote these women out of history, but their stories have refused to die. From the legendary leader of the Amazons who fought the greatest of Greek heroes, Achilles, to the Iron Ladies of today, the women of both West and East directing military campaigns and leading their countries in war. Presenting an array of fascinating and sometimes little known women war leaders, popular author Rosalind Miles and the acclaimed military historian Robin Cross do full justice to the achievements of these women, some of whose amazing stories have so far never been told.

Warrior women include: Penthesilea the Amazons queen, Deborah, Cleopatra VII, Boudicca, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Grace O'Malley, Deborah Samson, Nadezda Durova, Harriet Tubman, Anna Etheridge, Soldaderas, Flora Sandes, Lily Litvak, Women of the Warsaw Ghetto, Hanna Reitsch, Ruth Werner, Jeanne Holm, Margaret Thatcher, Women in Today's Armies, Martha McSally and more...

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Warrior Women: 3000 Years of Courage and Heroism + The Women's History of the World (Paladin Books)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (3 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085738077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857380777
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 25.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Rosalind Miles

Rosalind is a writer who sidesteps time. Both story-teller and scholar, she has led different lives since her childhood in England. As a girl she endured a voyage through a landscape of life and death when she survived polio at the age of four years after spending several months in an iron lung. Her earliest memories are from this underworld of medical instruments and mechanical isolation, seeing her mother's face remotely through the glass.

After her emergence from the realm of medical support systems, she attained robust health and was permitted to roam freely in a large woodland near her home in Shakespeare's Warwickshire. This woodland was once a medieval hunting park, maintained then as now by the Crown. The wood was an Arcadian paradise for a child, who wandered the park's seven lakes and varied forests from dawn to dusk. This park provided the security and a freedom rare at the time, and now generally denied children, to nurture the interior world of the self far from adult supervision. The fall of night, generally but not always, ended these ramblings and imaginings.

A late child, last in a line of sisters, Rosalind was born into a family where stories were treasured and books were portals to other places and times. The youngest of three, she shared a room with a sister, and had the habit of telling her a bedtime story every night. This variant on the Arabian Nights lasted 1000 evenings before the girls were separated into rooms of their own. Whatever lay at the source of this need to tell endless variations on stories of adventure and triumph, typically of a female heroine, Rosalind was developing a sense of the uses of narrative fiction at an early age, in a compelling and determined sort of way.

At the age of ten Rosalind began recording these stories and other thoughts in writing, a habit that never lapsed since. This was also the year in which she was removed from her village life, as a consequence of broader recognition of her academic precocity, and received state sponsorship to a junior women's college.

There, as an adolescent, she acquired a working knowledge of Latin and Greek, and a life-long love of Shakespeare. At seventeen Rosalind was promoted to St Hilda's College, Oxford University, where she studied English literature, Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, Latin and French. This led to five degrees in all, culminating in a Ph.D. from the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham.

Rosalind's Ph.D. thesis and early works in Shakespeare scholarship and literary theory were considered radical at the time yet have since become mainstream.
Examples of these books have been preserved and may often be found through an internet book search or in libraries. Works from this period include a biography and also a theoretical work on Ben Jonson. Both were the products of a literary press, Routledge & Co., and were received as definitive works.

Other works of literary criticism include "The Female Form", a discussion of the origins of the Victorian novel. Interest in these critical studies persists, and re-publication via specialist press or on the internet is in review.

In her twenties Rosalind rediscovered the world beyond academic scholarship, and developed in some very different directions. A range of activities that was once narrow became characterized by diversity. This coincided with marriage to a fellow-student from Oxford and the mothering of two children of her own, a girl and a boy. During this time Rosalind never stopped writing. She became a lecturer in women's studies, and wrote a number of works in this field, at least one of which transcends its time. Her "Women's History of the World" has become part of the feminist canon, even in Chinese.

A decade later, Rosalind became interested in jurisprudence, soon sitting as a lay magistrate in the English criminal and family courts, and eventually on the bench in a superior court in Coventry, a Crown Court.

Rosalind's work at the time turned to social commentary. "The Children We Deserve" and "The Rites of Man" are examples of this. These efforts in social theory received acceptance among some senior figures in government and media. England's Lord Chancellor placed Rosalind on his advisory committee on the changing legislation around women, the work place and child rearing. She also became a frequent commentator on the BBC, on Canadian Radio and in the London Times and Telegraph.

For her friends and admirers, one of the more interesting aspects of Rosalind's character is that long hours of work have never seemed to dull a sense of whimsy, fun, or the adventure of life: on the contrary, they seem to whet it.

Other interests of this phase of Rosalind Miles's life were horseback riding with her children and others, and recreational travel in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Arab world. Rosalind's travels in the Middle East led to a special relationship with the Sultanate of Oman, an Arab state unusual for its education and promotion of women. There she has been honoured through acquaintance with one of the world's remaining absolute monarchs, the Sultan of Oman. Rosalind has since often visited this kingdom where the modern world co-exists with a past in which ancient and aural literatures still resonate vibrantly for many, and the borders between legend and history are less distinct. These twin themes of the ancient and the modern, the primordial in each of us and our adaptation to the modern world, are familiar paths for Rosalind Miles, and this may have opened doors in Oman.

The writing of novels has been a labor of increasing fascination for Rosalind in recent years. These novels have taken the form of contemporary narratives, like "Return to Eden", or stories built around historical people and events. As the range of her life and work increased, integrating this wide range of experience may simply have required the broader pallet provided by fictional or semi fictional work. Or perhaps, having immersed herself in the grim topics of social justice, crime and punishment, Rosalind has simply found writing fiction to be more fun.

Whatever her motivation, Rosalind's narrative works appeal to a broad spectrum of people with quite diverse cultural backgrounds and tastes. "Return to Eden" for instance was for a while the best selling fictional work in Russian. "I, Elizabeth" was a popular work in Portuguese. Her present effort is a set of nine novels interpreting the Arthurian legends with emphasis on the Queens, and their primacy to the Celts. That many Celtic tribes were matrilineal is documented in Roman sources, among others, and is not seriously disputed. Yet the interpretation of this legacy, as handed down, leaves something to be desired. A rapist and murderer, Malory wrote his Morte d'Arthur from his prison cell. Certainly Malory cannot be relied upon regarding his reading of the Queens. There are other treatments, but the question of who these women were, and the challenges of their lives, remains an inviting one.

Of these Arthurian works, the first trilogy is now finished. The work was conceived as a trilogy of separate trilogies and the second set of three, based on the Irish stories of Isolde and Tristan, is well in hand, with the first novel finished and the second due for publication shortly. The concluding three exist presently only in outline. Sketches, and notes for other, future projects crowd her study.

So the little girl who wanted to live in the woods is now an accomplished author, with an eclectic group of achievements behind her. Rosalind put pen to paper with conviction at the age of ten, and never stopped. Rather than a process of recording, writing seems to comprise for her a process of uncovering the projections of the ancient in the modern, of the possibilities of language, and the overlooked in our history and future lives. Twenty books down this path, the way ahead looks as rich as the work already done.

Rosalind in brief:

- Guenevere is the first of a trilogy of Arthurian novels, which is itself the first of a trilogy of trilogies.

- Award-winning author of 20 books of fiction and non-fiction.

- Published in 18 languages, including Chinese.

- Biggest-selling contemporary British author in Russia after publication of the modern novel Return to Eden.

- Acclaimed for her Guenevere trilogy and short-listed for a number of literary prizes.

- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

- Designated by the US State Department as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability.

- Resident of Los Angeles and Kent, England.

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

'They fought like devils, far better than the men.' So George Clemenceau, then mayor of Montmartre, recalled the women of the Paris Commune who manned the barricades at France's republican uprising of 1871. Fighting to the last under a relentless bombardment as government troops stormed the city, they died like men too. History has seen many such acts of courage, daring and self-sacrifice. In Warrior Women readers will see some familiar names, although treated in an unfamiliar context: the military exploits of Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great can all be found here. Also present are lesser known but extraordinary stories, such as the redoubtable British heroine Pearl Witherington who commanded a French Resistance force of over a thousand men during the closing stages of the Second World War, and Susan Travers, the only woman to have joined the French Foreign Legion. Popular author Rosalind Miles and acclaimed military historian Robin Cross paint vivid portraits of the lives of over 100 extraordinary women across 3,000 years of history. Ranging from the 'killer queen' Boudicca who wreaked brutal vengeance on the Roman Empire for insults against her family and her tribe, to modern-day warrior queens such as Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, and from the British master spy Virginia Hall, to Second World War air ace Hanna Reitsch, Warrior Women restores women's deeds in wartime to their rightful place of honour and prominence. It is a fitting testament to all those women who have ever gone to war and who even now take up arms in the battle-scarred places of the world.

From the Back Cover

Amazing stories of women and war. Amazons. Deborah. Sammu-Ramat. Artemisia. Telesilla. Cleopatra VII. Boudicca. Cartimandua. The Tru'ung Sisters. Zenobia. Brunhilde. Women Fighters of the Arab World. Wu Chao. Aethelflaed. Matilda of Tuscany. Eleanor of Aquitaine. Tamara. Isabella of France. Isabel of Fife. Joan of Arc. Margaret of Anjou. Isabella I of Spain. Caterina Sforza. Malinalli Tenepal. Chiyome. Grace O'Malley. Elizabeth I. Jinga Mbandi. Catalina de Erauso. Lady Mary Bankes. Warrior Women of Dahomey. Hannah Snell. Catherine II. Molly Pitcher. Deborah Sampson. Anne-Josèphe Théroigne de Méricourt. Nadezhda Durova. Cheng I Sao. 'La Saragossa'. Rani Lakshmibai. Tz'u-Hsi. Elisa Lynch. Harriet Ross Tubman. Anna Etheridge. Louise Michel. Soldaderas. Flora Sandes. Mariya Bochkareva. Marthe Richard. Dorothy Lawrence. Constance Markiewicz. Sabiha Gökçen. Women of the Long March. Dolores Ibárruri Gómez. Lilya Litvak. Red Army Women Soldiers. Britain's Mixed Anti-Aircraft Batteries. Women of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Vera Atkins. Pearl Witherington. Christine Granville. Andrée de Jongh. Virginia Hall. Maria Gulovich. Hanna Reitsch. Ruth Werner. Olga Chekhova. Susan Travers. Jacqueline Cochran. Lillian Kinkela Keil. Haydée Santamaria. Golda Meir. Jeanne Holm. Margaret Thatcher. Women in the US Military Since 1941. Martha McSally. 'Tammy' Duckworth.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and fascinating 13 Mar 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Whilst there are an absolute ton of books on Heroes (mainly male) there are very few that sing the praises of the heroine which is what intrigued me so much about this title by Rosalind Miles and Robin Cross. Within this title the reader gets the life story of many heroines, from Boudicca to Eleanor of Aquitaine from Lilya Latvak to Jeanne Holme, there's a heroine for all.

Whilst this is quite easy to dip into each separate chapter brings each of the subjects lives together succinctly so that the reader can learn a lot about these notable women that might otherwise have escaped their attention. It's beautifully written and whilst I may have originally been ignorant of a good few, the title has inspired me to do a bit more research into a number of them. Add to this illustrations/photographs of the subject matter and you know that it's a title that will be utilised time and again. either just to satisfy some curiosity or as material to help inspire either a writer or a young historian. Great stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! 21 Sep 2013
By Finola
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Covers many of the great women throughout history, giving detailed yet interesting views on each so it doesn't feel like reading history. I recommend it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book 25 Mar 2013
By H Rowe
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yet another fantastic book from Rosalind Miles. Why don't they teach this stuff at school? Everyone should be taught about it. Her book on "Women's History of the World" is also extraordinary.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Condensed summary of women war leaders 24 Jan 2013
By Miriam W. Poole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very well written, concise history of well known and not so well known women in historical war situations. Gives a good overall summary of these womens' lives. Also reasonable, in excellent condition, and arrived quickly. Using this book in an 8 week class for Seniors.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not a single citation 1 Sep 2011
By Lauren - Published on Amazon.com
A few pages into the book, I began to question the author's sources, as the information presented, often in a very general manner lacking details, contrasted with much knowledge I had already stored in my memory from previous history reads. I flipped to the end only to discover that the images were all credited, but not a single source was given for any of the mythology or history in the book.

For a work that seems like its goal is to show that women have indeed had an impact on history and warfare, the author lends no credit to their topic with their poorly researched, conversationally written prose. The work lacks any semblance of authenticity, and serves rather to imply the opposite of their goal - many powerful women, both historical and questionably mythological, have existed throughout history. Why can the author not cite a primary source? The assumption immediately becomes that there is actually a lack of proof, and that to fill this tome, much had to be "made up." This is false, but one couldn't tell from this book.

A terrible book. Poorly written, full of error, and not even a good resource for a general knowledge of powerful female figures. The language is often sexist (but how can a book written by women be sexist? I hear you say) and a facsimile of "female empowerment." Instead, it's embarrassing.
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