More than twenty-five years ago The Women’s History of the World, by the brilliant historian, journalist and academic, Rosalind Miles, burst upon the world. It was instantly lauded and applauded by everyone from A.S. Byatt (‘Witty, balanced, inexorable . . . and splendid’) to the Washington Post (‘an inspiration’). The book went on to be a longstanding Sunday Times bestseller, was translated into almost 40 foreign languages and became a New York Times bestseller.
Now it is time for Rebel Women: All you wanted to know about women’s history from 1800 to the modern day. This is history as made by women: famous, infamous and little known, whose actions changed the course of the world.
We begin with the French Revolution when one woman took on the Fraternite of man, then it’s off to America to round up the other rebels who paved the way, fighting side by side for freedom with their men. In Australia we celebrate a mass mooning by female convicts of Queen Victoria’s Vice-Regent and his lady wife, and the dogged, often desperate courage of all the women who dared to think that they could change the world. Along the way we highlight the age-old cruelties and injustices suffered by women worldwide which the modern age has done little to challenge or change like forced marriage and femicide, while recording every milestone in the long march of women towards equality and the full life. In a colourful pageant of astonishing women, we track through to the birth of modern womanhood with the one small question of the Swinging Sixties which changed everything: Betty Friedan’s“Is This all?” Women in space, women in jail, women in-skirts, women in burkas, women in power – all female life is there.
We end in the current day – breathless but thrilled with what women can and have and will do.
Brave, brilliant, unrivalled in its wit and erudition, Rebel Women is a hugely readable book.