The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World - Adrienne Mayor

Adrienne Mayor, the Stanford classicist, historian of science, and author of The Poison King, dispels the myths of The Amazons (Princeton, $29.95) and reveals an even more fascinating reality. You won’t miss the sensational fictions of man-slaying, single-breasted archers who scorned marriage and motherhood, as you follow the true warrior women across the Eurasian steppes, from Bulgaria to Mongolia, in this thorough and richly illustrated ethnography. Until recently, most of what we thought we knew about the Amazons came from the ancient Greeks. But that settled and patriarchal culture misinterpreted the practices of the Scythians and other nomadic tribes, seeing female dominance in what was really gender equality. Both men and women hunted, fought, rode horses, and wore pants; everyone had to contribute to ensure the group’s survival in the harsh desert and mountain landscapes. The extent of the Greeks’ misunderstandings has become clear with archeological excavations and technology. Both find that women were buried like heroes, with sumptuous grave goods including gold, weapons, tools, personal hemp-burning kits, horses, and sometimes children.

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World By Adrienne Mayor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691147208
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Princeton University Press - September 22nd, 2014

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World By Adrienne Mayor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691170275
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Princeton University Press - February 9th, 2016

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured - Kathryn Harrison

Joan of Arc is a historical figure often treated as a mythical hero. Her latest biographer, Kathryn Harrison, a versatile writer of fiction and nonfiction, has undertaken the gargantuan task of narrating the saint’s life with both research and imagination. In Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured (Doubleday, $28.95), Harrison paints the fullest, most realistic portrait of Joan yet. With a nod to those who have presented Joan’s story before (the list includes Shakespeare and Shaw), Harrison retraces the incredible tale of a young woman who manages to move an entire nation. Her account features an excellent timeline of Joan’s life and the events of her era, putting her subject in a wider context and illuminating how Joan must have been viewed by her contemporaries. How did they see her—as a madwoman? A sociopath? A prophet? Read this eye-opening biography and find out.

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured By Kathryn Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780767932493
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor - October 13th, 2015

Isabella: The Warrior Queen - Kirstin Downey

“There was no test of wills that Queen Isabella did not win,” Kirstin Downey notes in this colorful biography of Isabella (Nan A. Talese, $35). The Queen of Castile and León (1451-1503) didn’t just have a career, she had several kingdoms. The mother of five, she didn’t just raise children, but trained future monarchs of Europe; marrying them off meant major foreign policy decisions. Coinciding as it did with events that continue to shape the world, including the Reconquest of Granada, the expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Spain, the establishment of the Inquisition, and the voyages of Columbus, Isabella’s life story is also a rich arc of history. Downey supplies detailed social, economic, and political context, and vividly evokes a time of pageantry and treachery. The pressures on Isabella were many and keen. Conspiracies and power-plays went on constantly, and sudden deaths—whether by plague or poison—changed the webs of alliances instantly. No ruler could afford a lapse in vigilance, and this was doubly true for a reigning woman. Isabella also struggled to balance religious humility with shows of worldly power; while she brutally quelled dissent, she unified Spain and was the first Old World leader to see the value of colonizing the New World. A just and humane ruler? Not always. A brilliant woman with a fascinating story? Yes!

Isabella: The Warrior Queen By Kirstin Downey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307742162
Availability: Backordered
Published: Anchor - November 10th, 2015