Cover image for
Scandalous women : the lives and loves of history's most notorious women
Mahon, Elizabeth Kerri.

Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
xii, 304 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A Perigree Book."
Bibliography Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages [287]-291)
Subject Term:
Pub Date:
Penguin Group, 2011.


Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 920.72 M216
Freed-Montrose -- Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 920.72 M216
Jungman - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 920.72 M216

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Throughout history women have caused wars, defied the rules, and brought men to their knees. The famous and the infamous, queens, divorcées, actresses, and outlaws have created a ruckus during their lifetimes-turning heads while making waves. Scandalous Women tells the stories of the risk takers who have flouted convention, beaten the odds, and determined the course of world events. When Cleopatra (69 BC-30 BC) wasn't bathing in asses' milk, the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and forged an important political alliance with Rome against her enemies-until her dalliance with Marc Antony turned the empire against her. Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1748), a mathematician, physicist, author, and paramour of one of the greatest minds in France, Voltaire, shocked society with her unorthodox lifestyle and intellectual prowess-and became a leader in the study of theoretical physics in France at a time when the sciences were ruled by men. Long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1928) fought to end discrimination and the terrible crime of lynching and helped found the NAACP, but became known as a difficult woman for her refusal to compromise and was largely lost in the annals of history. Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) had a passion for archaeology and languages, and left her privileged world behind to become one of the foremost chroniclers of British imperialism in the Middle East, and one of the architects of the modern nation of Iraq.

Author Notes

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon is from New York. An avid reader of history books, Kerri Mahon was inspired to learn about the women who made it. She is the creator of the blog Scandalous Women ,, launched in the fall of 2007. Scandalous Women was named one of the 100 Most Awesome Blogs for History Junkies by Best Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Victorian Society of America, RWA, and RWA NYC.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

From its opening sentence-"Scandalous Women isn't history, it's herstory," Mahon sets a tone of whimsical accessibility that will be appealing to some and repellent to others. Most of the historical women covered here are discussed largely in the context of the men in their lives, from Anne Boleyn to Frida Kahlo to the brilliant mathematician and physicist Emilie du Chatelet, who is first identified as "Voltaire's mistress." The book's blog-beginnings reveal themselves most in tone; few will mistake this for serious history. Eleanor of Aquitaine's accomplishments are described as "not bad for a broad in her seventies"; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are called "the Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag of the Jazz Age." This is Feminist History for Dummies, with a snappy no-frills style that allows the author to cover ground and bring in lesser-known females like Carry Nation, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1900, who busted bars to bits with an axe and inspired others to do the same. As a crash course in women's history, readers could do worse. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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