Uppity Women of the New World
By Vicki León
Uppity Women of the New World
By Vicki León
ISIS Large Print, (2004)
Genre: Biography, History
Large Print - Paperback |
Standard Print - Paperback
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 11, 2004
Funny, irreverent, and historically faithful, Uppity Women of the New World chronicles the histories of 225 women who helped to shape the New World - in this case North America, South America, and Australia. Covering the period from the early 1500's through the mid-1800's, this book consists of brief biographies of intriguing women from all walks of life - from indigenous women and frontiers women to prostitutes and aristocrats. Written by Vicki León, this collection of histories presents a fascinating glimpse at an often overlooked segment of society, namely women, during the colonial period in the New World.
León's style of writing is flippant and has a staccato cadence. Normally, I would find this style jarring. However, in this case, it works. Her writing style helps to illustrate the vitality of the women depicted, and to make them accessible to a modern audience. Her writing style also gives a humorous cast to the biographies. In this work León is presenting women, who were by their very nature, unusual. Were they 'normal' they would never have left a historical record of their lives behind save as the wife or mother of so-and-so. The women in these pages were adventurers, explorers, fighters, political activists, and in many cases, just plain brave. So of the names in this book will be familiar to you:
Other names may not be so familiar to you, such as:
- Virginia Dare - the first English child born in North America.
- Sacagawea - guide to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu - brought the custom of vaccinating against smallpox to England from Turkey.
- Margaret Corbin - a.k.a. Molly Pitcher, Revolutionary War heroine.
- Pocahontas - the savior of John Smith.
- Anne Bonney - pirate.
Uppity Women of the New World is an eclectic anthology of brief biographies of some of the most intriguing women, of whom a historical record exists, that lived in the new world during the colonial period. These biographies will help to round out the male-centric history of the New World that is found in most textbooks. These vignettes are not only educational, but they are also entertaining. From cross-dressing caballeros to demur widows these vignettes present a fascinating glimpse of what life was like for women in the New World, and the many methods that they used to break out of the roles that society tried to enforce upon them. This book will delight readers of all ages - both male and female.
- Isabel Flores - the 'Mother Teresa' of Lima around 1600. She became the first native New Worlder (she was half-Inca) to be canonized.
- Mary Peck Butterworth - an inventor and counterfeiter in the early 1700's.
- Matilda Newport - a former slave who traveled to Africa in 1822 to help set up a colony of free blacks in Liberia.
- Policarpa Salavarrieta - a South American freedom fighter.
- Martha Turnstall Smith - a widow turned whaler who went on to found her own whaling company
- Henrietta Faber - a Cuban doctor who had to pretend to be a man in order to practice medicine.
- Isabel De Aguilar - widow of the first converso burned at the state by the Inquisition in Mexico in 1528.
- Esther Abrahams Johnston - as a teenager she was sent to Australia (then a penal colony) for the horrific crime of stealing some lace.
- and the list goes on...
Uppity Women of the New World can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of ISIS Large Print.
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