Women Warriors: An Unexpected History

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History

Who says women don't go to war? From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, these are the stories of women for whom battle was not a metaphor.

The woman warrior is always cast as an anomaly--Joan of Arc, not G.I. Jane. But women, it turns out, have always gone to war. In this fascinating, lively, and wide-ranging book, historian Pamela Toler draws from a lifetime of scouring books for mentions of women warriors to tell their stories and to consider why women go to war.

Tomyris, ruler of the hard-riding Massagetae, and her warriors killed Cyrus the Great of Persia when he sought to invade her lands. She herself hacked off his head in revenge for the death of her son. The West African ruler Amina of Hausa, a contemporary of Elizabeth I, led her fierce warriors in a campaign of territorial expansion for more than thirty years. Like Elizabeth, she refused to marry; unlike Elizabeth, she never claimed to be a Virgin Queen. Contemporary accounts of medieval sieges in Europe describe women using firearms, participating in night raids, joining in the defense of breaches in the walls, and fighting hand-to-hand at the improvised barricades that often provided a last line of defense. Among the examples of female samurai in Japan are the Joshigun, a group of thirty seriously combat-trained women who fought against the forces of the Meiji emperor in the late 19th century.

These are the stories of those who commanded from the rear and those who fought in the front lines, those who fought because they wanted to, because they had to, or because they could. Considering the ways in which their presence has been erased from history, Toler concludes that women have always fought: not in spite of being women but because they are women.

Title:Women Warriors: An Unexpected History
ISBN:9780807064320

    Women Warriors: An Unexpected History Reviews

  • Amalia Gavea

    Just so you know, the next idiot who writes to me to tell me my review is wrong gets reported. You have been warned...In the Introduction, the writer refers to Joan of Arc, Jeanne Hachette and Lakshmi...

  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    3.5 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. In fact, women have always gone to war: fighting to av...

  • Melisende d'Outremer

    The author states her intent is to bring women warriors out of the historical shadows; to consider the reasons that they have taken up arms and how those reasons related to their roles; and the conseq...

  • Jane

    Fascinating peek into the world of women as warriors. Global, covering millennia of human history. The author spent years gathering this information, with copious footnotes, notes, and bibliography. T...

  • Chris

    Disclaimer: I won a copy via a giveaway on Librarything. My brother reads quite a bit of John Keegan. I’m not entirely sure if he has read every book Keegan wrote, but it must be close. Every so oft...

  • Matt

    I received this book via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest reviewThe phrase warrior women evokes many images, most with “boob” armor as a prominent feature however hi...

  • Mimi

    Interesting primer on female warriors throughout history, with a nice balance time- and location-wise.If you already read up on the subject, you can pretty much skip this one, I already knew about mos...

  • Krystal

    I thought this sounded super interesting, but it was disappointing. The author jumps all over the place (in time and location), and it felt like every time I started getting into one of the stories, i...

  • Carol Kean

    Woman as Warrior may seem like an oxymoron, but women have a long history of fighting and taking lives. In the old world view, “It is no more possible for a mother to kill than for a warrior to give...

  • Melissa

    *This review is part of the Amazon Vine program.There are so many women warriors out there that I've never even heard of. A sad reflection of our history books I would imagine. No end to the various w...