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Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics

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Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog. Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . . Illustrated in a contempo Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog. Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . . Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place. An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.


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Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog. Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . . Illustrated in a contempo Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog. Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . . Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place. An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.

30 review for Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Layla

    ~ 2.5 stars ~ TW/CW: suicide, rape, self harm, sexual assault/abuse, violence, domestic violence, death, genocide, murder, slut shaming, hanging (execution), forced marriage, rasicm, homophobia. None of these are condoned, but they are part of the women's stories, and their experiences. I will also be mentioning some in my review, so read this with caution, if any of these may be triggering for you This was not as good as I thought it would be. There were many things that were just absolutely frus ~ 2.5 stars ~ TW/CW: suicide, rape, self harm, sexual assault/abuse, violence, domestic violence, death, genocide, murder, slut shaming, hanging (execution), forced marriage, rasicm, homophobia. None of these are condoned, but they are part of the women's stories, and their experiences. I will also be mentioning some in my review, so read this with caution, if any of these may be triggering for you This was not as good as I thought it would be. There were many things that were just absolutely frustrating. But nonetheless, I am glad I got to learn more about a bunch of wonderful women in which I either didn't know, or didn't know much about. This had a diverse cast of people whose stories were told, which I appreciated, and while there were a few stories which I loved, there were others not so much. A lot of my problems lie in the format. The first being, there were so many people, and just a quick summary. I would have preferred it if perhaps on 15 people were chosen and featured more in depth, their stories more fleshed out. The second is the maturity ratings and content warnings. Not only are those very broad and don't cover everything, but sometimes they were mismarked or weirdly marked. Here is how they look: The maturity rating were from 1-5, which I didn't like. Because I don't understand how you are to determine which area they fall under. To say someone that is younger should be able to read the ones marked 1, but not 5, when they both deal with mature topics is confusing. And none of the ones rated 5, I would consider R rated. The second is the content warnings. There were warnings for abuse, violence, sex, rape, and self harm. But those don't cover all of the things mentioned. So sometimes it would put a story that has suicide, under self harm, when both things can entail different things. Or a story that briefly mentions a teenage pregnancy, be marked as sex. I think it would have been so much more effective if it was written out, instead of just a sticker at the corner to indicate what it falls under. It would have been much more accurate. And last, but certainly not least, is the humor. I did not like the sense of humor and the weird inputs by the author and overused jokes. It felt like it was trying too hard to be funny, but in reality, it was just painful. But other than the formating, my other problems included, a few questionable stories that just made no sense. One of the stories tried to claim that a proven serial killer, with hundreds of witnesses testifying, wasn't actually a serial killer, and that she was just framed by people who didn't like the idea of a strong independent women, which okay, that could be a valid reason, had there been evidence to prove so, but not for this instance. Other stories, showed horrible people in a positive spotlight. Tell their story, without giving your input on whether you think they are admirable or not. The reader can decide for themselves. If I'm reading a story, where the only thought in my head is how terrible that person is, but the author is claiming their excellence the entire time, well that's just plain annoying. This includes a women that thinks that while she may be equal to men, that not all women are. The advisor to Winston Churchill, that supported the colonization tactics and to be told she is a product of her time. A leader than kidnapped and forcefully married a son and father. A mother, who watched her son's hanging, and when things didn't run snoothly, told him to put the noose back one and "show them how its done". The list is endless and all the stories told in those biased ways. What is this, a U.S. History class? I mean, I don't even want to know about them, though that doesn't mean their stories shouldn't be told, but not in the way that this did so. But I think, to be fair, that's just personal thing, me not wanting to read about them like this. Because there are works out there that glorify a slave owner with catchy lyrics, or memoirs written by a war criminal politician, or tv series that romanticize suicide, and while I wouldn't go near them, even with a 10 foot pole, there are people that do enjoy them. Final Thoughts: I suppose I would recommend to the right person. If you're interested in history written with commentary, and want to learn about women, all throughout time, than this would be for you. I just don't think this is for me. ••••• (Pre-reading 2/21/21) Today I found out about Khawlah bint al-Azwar, an amazing kick-ass female warrior, and I went to look for books about her. And I found this. A whole book about a bunch of other kick-ass women in history with untold or lesser known stories including her. I have a copy from Libby, I will be reading it soon, and I'm really excited.

  2. 4 out of 5

    emma

    i've said it before and i'll say it again: I Will Read Every Entertaining Feminist Nonfiction Collection Of Badass Women From History That Exists In The World. this is my quest and i'm sticking to it. i've said it before and i'll say it again: I Will Read Every Entertaining Feminist Nonfiction Collection Of Badass Women From History That Exists In The World. this is my quest and i'm sticking to it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    We all no doubt consumed our fair share of Disney princesses stories and movies growing up. The heroines always possess that most important female feature -- beauty-- and that second most desirable female feature -- fragility, or in other words, in need of rescue by a man, preferably a prince. They're also all (until recently) white, usually with blonde hair, and slender with just the "right" amount of curves. Well, the author of Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions We all no doubt consumed our fair share of Disney princesses stories and movies growing up. The heroines always possess that most important female feature -- beauty-- and that second most desirable female feature -- fragility, or in other words, in need of rescue by a man, preferably a prince. They're also all (until recently) white, usually with blonde hair, and slender with just the "right" amount of curves. Well, the author of Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics​ calls BS on all of that! Contained in this book are stories of women throughout history, from all over the world and from many ages, who threw up their middle finger (or whatever was the equal gesture for their culture) at convention and did their own damn thing.​ The stories are graphic and thus not really suitable for young children.... then again, have you ever read the original Grimm's Fairy Tales? I guess this book would be suitable reading material for young children in days of yore, but today? I doubt it. I don't know, maybe they are. I don't have kids so I'll let those of you who are parents decide if it's appropriate or not. The stories are told in ever-increasing levels of violence and goriness and I admit I could not read the last several stories. So, my guess is you parents will probably decide they're not decent bedtime stories for your young children, but again, what do I, with all my unused, unfertilised, and discarded eggs, know about bedtime stories? I hadn't heard of many of these women, because of course it was men who usually wrote the history books and they apparently didn't find women who thwarted convention to be worth celebrating. It's a good thing we know anything of these women at all and surely there are many more who are lost to us forever. ​Whilst I think each of the women in the book deserves to have her story told, I think the book would have been better if it had been in more detail of only a few of them, rather than just bits and pieces of many different women. I do love how he included people of so many ethnicities and nationalities and throughout all of recorded history. I also loved the pictures in the book. Each chapter is headed with a Disney-like version picture of the heroine and these were great fun to see. ​ Jason Porath pays homage to each of these incredible women in the wittiest of ways. His writing is enjoyable most of the time, and I often found myself chuckling. Other times it could be a bit irritating, but on the whole, it is a fun read. If you want to learn about some of history's most kick-ass but almost forgotten women, you should read this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dianna ♡ the belle and the book ♡

    “This is a book for any girl who ever felt she didn't fit in. You are not alone. You come from a long line of bold, strong, fearless women. Glory in that.” This should be a required reading for females, especially young girls. Rejected Princesses is an empowering compilation of stories about women who challenged societal norms and proved that they are equal and as powerful as any man. I loved this book so much. If ever I'll have a daughter in the future or a niece even, you can bet th “This is a book for any girl who ever felt she didn't fit in. You are not alone. You come from a long line of bold, strong, fearless women. Glory in that.” This should be a required reading for females, especially young girls. Rejected Princesses is an empowering compilation of stories about women who challenged societal norms and proved that they are equal and as powerful as any man. I loved this book so much. If ever I'll have a daughter in the future or a niece even, you can bet that this will be her bedtime stories aside from Harry Potter!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy. Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynchi Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy. Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since Lies My Teacher Told Me. It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world. Library copy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rhode

    So, the dedication made me cry. I've been a feminist and a history lover all of my life. I've got (nearly) all the books in my home library, from 'Female Tars' to 'The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work'. And I grit my teeth at how historical novels nearly relentlessly cover the same handful of women - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, etc. Rinse, lather, repeat. I pre-ordered this book the instant it was possible. Some of the 100+ women covered were new t So, the dedication made me cry. I've been a feminist and a history lover all of my life. I've got (nearly) all the books in my home library, from 'Female Tars' to 'The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work'. And I grit my teeth at how historical novels nearly relentlessly cover the same handful of women - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, etc. Rinse, lather, repeat. I pre-ordered this book the instant it was possible. Some of the 100+ women covered were new to me (yay) mainly because Western historians aren't fabulous at diversity. Also, some of the details about better known women were also new to me because the author uncovered new or little known research about them. (Another yay.) I also super liked his thoughtful classifications - each profile is marked with easy indicators for reading maturity level (I.e. G vs R) and trigger warnings for things like abuse and self harm. So, the stories are NOT watered down for an assumed reader age, but rather readers can pick and choose which are best for them. (Triple yay.) Although the illustrations are Disney-esque, they are notable for thoughtful historicity as well. The author includes Art Notes telling the reader which details to pay extra attention to such as bare feet, medals, background figures, etc. So, renditions, that at first glance appear to be light hearted, are actually full of depth and meaning. (Here I am giving All The Yays.) Physically, this book is a luscious investment. Do get the hardcover if you can. It's an oversized book printed on gorgeous, glossy paper. The design and layout will be of pleasure to children and adults alike. So, a great book. A worthy addition to EVERYONE'S library (absolutely for women and girls; but most *especially* if you have a son or husband, because they are often more oblivious to women's history and awesomeness than females may be.) and with that said, I'm gonna type here the author's dedication that reduced me to tears: "Dedicated to my mother, the strongest woman in the world. You carved a space for yourself out of a world that offers strong women no quarter. Then, out of everything you could have been, you chose to be my mom. I hope I can live up to you."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    A plethora of princesses and famous women who'll probably never get the Disney treatment. Also included are a number of women centered folktales and myths. The art is very well done and I learned some stuff along the way. From women heroes of WWII like Noor Inyat Khan (whom I've been dying to read more about for a long time!) to female poets and warriors of the East, and even my favorite serial killer (who might not have actually been one!). I spent about a third of the book wondering why I neve A plethora of princesses and famous women who'll probably never get the Disney treatment. Also included are a number of women centered folktales and myths. The art is very well done and I learned some stuff along the way. From women heroes of WWII like Noor Inyat Khan (whom I've been dying to read more about for a long time!) to female poets and warriors of the East, and even my favorite serial killer (who might not have actually been one!). I spent about a third of the book wondering why I never heard of some of these women in school! I can't wait for the sequel!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    Mixed feelings about this one. It brings popular light to a lot of untold stories, is quick and easy to read, and as a visitor to the original webpage from which this book was spawned I know the author does his research on each of his subjects. However, I personally disliked the stylistic choices in the book - the chatty tone, the organisation of entries, and the leaving out of references. Its fun and light-hearted nature gives the impression of a children's book. Mixed feelings about this one. It brings popular light to a lot of untold stories, is quick and easy to read, and as a visitor to the original webpage from which this book was spawned I know the author does his research on each of his subjects. However, I personally disliked the stylistic choices in the book - the chatty tone, the organisation of entries, and the leaving out of references. Its fun and light-hearted nature gives the impression of a children's book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    Full review now posted! I’m not the biggest fan of nonfiction, as I read to escape reality instead of learning more about it. I know, it’s a failing of mine. But every once in a while, I come across a nonfiction book that actually maintains my interest. This book was one of those. Jason Porath formerly worked in animation on such movies as Megamind, The Croods, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. This book is about women of myth or history who would never make the cut to become a Disney princess. Por Full review now posted! I’m not the biggest fan of nonfiction, as I read to escape reality instead of learning more about it. I know, it’s a failing of mine. But every once in a while, I come across a nonfiction book that actually maintains my interest. This book was one of those. Jason Porath formerly worked in animation on such movies as Megamind, The Croods, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. This book is about women of myth or history who would never make the cut to become a Disney princess. Porath took it upon himself to gather information about these women through vigorous research, tell their stories in an interesting way, and illustrate them as they might appear if they were indeed Disney princesses. The illustrations are adorable, if somewhat disturbing when you take time to look at the small details and match them with the components of the woman’s story. Not all of these women were good women. In fact, some were downright evil. But the one thing they all have in common is that they were fascinating and stood out from other women of their times. One of the things I loved most about this book was the inclusion of so many women I had never heard of. Don’t get me wrong, there are women I have heard of, such as Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Josphine Baker, Mata Hari, Jezabel, and Elisabeth Bathory. Just in that list you can see some of the variety of women Porath included. But there were far more women whom I had never heard of, but whose stories were utterly enthralling. There are far too many to list, but some of my favorites were Hypatia, Princess Caraboo, and Olga of Kiev. Porath had a wonderful voice to his writing. No part of this book ever felt dry, despite the fact it was educational. There was lots of sass to be found in the prose, which I loved. I could just hear Porath telling these stories at a party or something. I know that addition of personal remarks won’t appeal to all readers, but it really worked for me. Porath’s voice is what kept this book feeling fun instead of erudite. An addition I really approved of was that of ratings on each of the stories. The stories were rated 1 through 5, with 1 being the cleanest and 5 having the most adult content. Each rating also included additional information about why the rating was given, such as violence, rape, etc. Porath also put the stories in order by rating, so all of the 1s are in the front of the book, followed by the 2s and so on. This system makes it much easier to read the more appropriate stories to kids, or to allow them to read up to a certain rating on their own. These are not fairy tales at all, but I think girls (and boys!) need to be exposed to strong women as early and as often as possible. Are these women all role model material? Assuredly not. But they were women who bucked societal norms and stood up for something, which is important for little girls to see. All in all, this book was wonderfully fun. I think it would be a perfect gift for a preteen girl who is a precocious reader, or for a woman with an interest in women in history. But if you do gift this to a girl, be aware of the adult content further into the book. Also, I also think this would be a wonderful resource for any author wanting to include strong, powerful women in their fiction. For more of my reviews, as well as my own fiction and thoughts on life, check out my blog, Celestial Musings.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    If you want to read something about women with all sorts of gender identity, sexual orientation and walks of life... This is your book. I am so glad I decided to request this on a whim because it's probably the most incredible thing I've ever read. I got to know so many unbelievable stories and myths. I marked some of the women in this and I'm definitely going to look into the bibliography and read up on some of the women mentioned in here. This book featured gorgeous cartoon illustrations o If you want to read something about women with all sorts of gender identity, sexual orientation and walks of life... This is your book. I am so glad I decided to request this on a whim because it's probably the most incredible thing I've ever read. I got to know so many unbelievable stories and myths. I marked some of the women in this and I'm definitely going to look into the bibliography and read up on some of the women mentioned in here. This book featured gorgeous cartoon illustrations of almost 100 different women and it really captured the essence of every single woman. It also has a website called rejectedprincesses.com which I'm going to check out and probably bookmark because I need more of this amazingness in my life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    the fact that this book about strong, rebellious women is written by a man makes me... skeptical, to say the least

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mackey

    Rejected Princesses is a true yet irreverent poke at the tales of fairy princesses that far too many little girls read today. These are the real life stories of heroines who saved themselves rather than waiting for a prince. Tales of sword wielding ninja warriors who protected the kingdom and whose suitors had to fight her for the mere honor of a marriage proposal....which they usually lost. It's the story of heretics who stood up to corrupt religious leaders, hellions who fought against corrupt Rejected Princesses is a true yet irreverent poke at the tales of fairy princesses that far too many little girls read today. These are the real life stories of heroines who saved themselves rather than waiting for a prince. Tales of sword wielding ninja warriors who protected the kingdom and whose suitors had to fight her for the mere honor of a marriage proposal....which they usually lost. It's the story of heretics who stood up to corrupt religious leaders, hellions who fought against corrupt politicians; women who did NOT sing songs in the forest or worry about their hair. These are the real tales of real women whose legacies we should engrain into the minds our daughters. I encourage everyone to read it and all little girls to own it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    Witty, inspiring and just so gosh-darn cute! This encyclopedia of notable women is such a wonderful collection of biographies, drawn in the Disney style (the author was an illustrator for DreamWorks). Each entry summarizes the life of the female with a corresponding detailed and meaningful caricature. Although Rejected Princesses could at first be mistaken as a children’s book because of the artwork, the content can be far from. Guide markers alert the audience to the nature of the entry. Some o Witty, inspiring and just so gosh-darn cute! This encyclopedia of notable women is such a wonderful collection of biographies, drawn in the Disney style (the author was an illustrator for DreamWorks). Each entry summarizes the life of the female with a corresponding detailed and meaningful caricature. Although Rejected Princesses could at first be mistaken as a children’s book because of the artwork, the content can be far from. Guide markers alert the audience to the nature of the entry. Some of these ladies kept quiet yet empowering lives while others’ stories could be shown on late night movie channels. The footnotes are sometimes just as intriguing as the entries! One could randomly choose each entry or view in successive order. Read about these women, share their stories with your daughters, sisters and friends, and keep their essence alive. –Sara S

  14. 4 out of 5

    vicky.

    100 badass women who were forgotten or defamed by men history!! The majority of them I did not know but there were some (like Joan of Arc) who I thought I knew... until I read this book. Each women is accompanied by fantastic art and a brief biography. Which is perfect if you don't have time to read because real life gets in the way. I also appreciate the fact that each story contains trigger warnings! A fantastic (intersectionalist!)feminist book about women who did not fit into the mould. Highly 100 badass women who were forgotten or defamed by men history!! The majority of them I did not know but there were some (like Joan of Arc) who I thought I knew... until I read this book. Each women is accompanied by fantastic art and a brief biography. Which is perfect if you don't have time to read because real life gets in the way. I also appreciate the fact that each story contains trigger warnings! A fantastic (intersectionalist!)feminist book about women who did not fit into the mould. Highly recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    TJL

    DNF, read various sections out of order. First off, can we get over this fucking trend of publishing things we can get for free online and making money off them? Because I read sections of this book at the store, and was not shocked when I got home and found that I could access a lot of this material on their website or Tumblr. Second of all, my inner historian is crying. Sorry, but a little disclaimer at the beginning about history being "ever-changing" as we learn new things does not excuse the DNF, read various sections out of order. First off, can we get over this fucking trend of publishing things we can get for free online and making money off them? Because I read sections of this book at the store, and was not shocked when I got home and found that I could access a lot of this material on their website or Tumblr. Second of all, my inner historian is crying. Sorry, but a little disclaimer at the beginning about history being "ever-changing" as we learn new things does not excuse the fact that there was a fair deal of historical inaccuracies in this book. Like, for instance Elizabeth Bathory being innocent. Funny how this little tale neglects to mention that her conviction came about because over three hundred people came forward to testify against her (the book only mentions her household staff being tortured before their testimony), or the fact that they pulled a lot of dead/dying girls out of her castle during the investigation- which, I'm sorry, is more than just her not being "warm and cuddly". I'm a little appalled at the relatively glib way the book talked about this: So no, she was not warm and cuddly. I absolutely believe she made life shitty for misbehaving servants (or, more likely, had her head servants do it for her). It is beyond questioning that she beat the hell out of them, and some undoubtedly died from it – I mean, she had thousands of servants in an age before penicillin. In fact, one scholar claims that the more outlandish tortures (stinging nettles, metal rods, amateur acupuncture) were contemporary folk remedies. Tough, mean lady? Yes. Cartoon supervillain? Hell no. No. No, that is actually pretty fucking villainous, beating your servants to the point where, during the investigation, they were pulling dead and dying girls out of the castle. You realize that much like the woman you are trying to defend, that those girls were people too, right? Those girls who could have gone on to be really badass women themselves, but we don't know, because they fucking died after, at the very LEAST, being horrendously mistreated by this woman? I'm sorry, but would we even be having this fucking conversation if Bathory was a man? That is a villain right there, and this is why revisionist history nauseates me: Young women died as a result of this woman's cruelty, by the book's own fucking admission, but oh, she's not a villain. She wasn't nice, but I mean, come on, horribly mistreating your servants until they suffer and die- c'mon, that's not villainous! People died all the TIME back then because of how terrible the medical care was! That can't seriously be your argument. (ETA: And for the record, exactly how often do these people think servants died back in the day? Having servants die on a regular basis from anything other than illness is NOT A GOOD SIGN and an indicator that something was seriously wrong in your damn castle. If it were so normal for loads of servants to die then WHY THE HELL WAS SHE INVESTIGATED?) I mean, goddamn, I don't like imposing modern views on historical settings, but given how the people around her reacted, I'm guessing they thought it was pretty fucking horrible too, or she wouldn't have gone on goddamn TRIAL for it! I mean- shock shock!- the girls who died had FAMILIES, y'all, and I think they might have been a little miffed at the fact that their kids were being carted out of that castle because ol' Lizzy got a little too liberal with a whip! If you intend to claim that she's innocent- and you totally can! if you have the facts to back you up, you can claim all kinds of shit- you need to go into considerably more detail than just "CONSPIRACY! SHE WAS POWERFUL AND HAD ENEMIES SO CONSPIRACY!" I don't doubt that some of the testimony against her may have been exaggerated, but there's a lot of evidence against this woman that has definitely not been even touched by this book. And see, if they'd presented this section as "Oh, well, there's maybe some question about how accurate the testimony against her was, some people were tortured, some people were bribed, so it's possible things weren't that bad", then we'd be fine. But no- we had to have a "mic drop" moment where she's declared innocent because... Well, they can't actually prove shit, but that certainly didn't stop them! They took one- ONE- perspective on Bathory and ran with it because they thought it would look good. (ETA: And by the way, there is a section of historians who do think Bathory was innocent- but they have yet to explain away the girls who were dead/dying in the castle at the time of the investigation, the hundreds of testimonies against Bathory, among other things. Not to mention the fact that she allegedly DID have conspirators, and the ones convicted of the charges faced WAAAAAY harsher punishment than what she got.) That was one section. One. Do yourself a favor: Get the names of the women from this book, and find actually historical accurate books without an underlying agenda or an attempt to appeal to the current mood regarding sexism and female characters. Because those will probably be the books that are a little more accurate and less sensational.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality Think of this as the ultimate collection of fractured fairy tales, because this collection is fractured on a number of different axes, all of them worth thinking about. Also, the whole thing is a terrific hoot. So if you are looking for a slightly ironic and occasionally a bit pained laugh, this book is well worth dipping into. Often. Many of these stories are based on history, some a bit more loosely than others. And the rest are based in myths that are well Originally published at Reading Reality Think of this as the ultimate collection of fractured fairy tales, because this collection is fractured on a number of different axes, all of them worth thinking about. Also, the whole thing is a terrific hoot. So if you are looking for a slightly ironic and occasionally a bit pained laugh, this book is well worth dipping into. Often. Many of these stories are based on history, some a bit more loosely than others. And the rest are based in myths that are well-known but have been ignored by Western culture. Why, you ask? Because all of the stories in this collection feature women who acted in various ways outside of the norms that Western history wants to impose upon women. Every one of the women in these stories lives up to the saying, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” None of these women behaved well, and all of them made history. Even if, or especially because, it’s a history that the entrenched patriarchy wants to bury. After burning. In case you can’t tell, reading this collection will definitely get your feminist dander way, way up. And that’s a good thing. These stories all need to be told. Because if we want girls to believe that they can be anything they set their minds and hearts to, we need to show them that it is possible to be more than just the few options that all of the media messaging tells them are available to girls and women. The tone of Rejected Princesses is tongue-very-firmly-in-cheek. Although it reminds me of last year’s marvelous Cranky Ladies of History, the scope is much broader and the stories are much, much shorter, to the point of being vignettes rather than stories. But the Cranky Ladies had an observable bias towards stories with which most of us in Western societies, notably America, are already familiar with. Porath’s scope is deliberately broader. The intent seems to be to illuminate all of the dusty and forgotten corners of history and legend that are occupied by women, from every continent and every time period. There are stories that feature women in ancient legends from the Norwegian fairy tale Tatterhood to the Brazilian legend of Iara to Xtabay from Mesoamerican mythology. The historical figures are equally far ranging, from familiar names like Harriet Tubman and Anne Hutchinson in the US and Tomoe Gozen in 12th century China to Andamana in the 14th century Canary Islands and Alfhild in 5th century Denmark. The author has attempted to show the wide and varied range of women in history, from the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians to the 20th century around the globe. If you are looking for a female historical figure relevant to any culture, any continent, any race and any era, she’s probably in here someplace, along with her sisters. I think that anyone could find a woman to identify with who relates directly to herself in some or many ways. Not all of the women are heroes, either. The infamous Elizabeth Bathory is not the only villain featured between these pages. But the focus of the collection is to show the wide range of women in history, from heroes to villains, from slaves to owners, from commoners to queens. We’ve done it all. We just don’t get to see it all reflected in the history books. Escape Rating B+: This collection is not intended to be definitive. And it is definitely not intended to be an authoritative historical treatise. That tongue-in-cheek style lends itself to a lot of humorous asides and more than a bit of breaking the fourth wall, where the author talks directly to the reader and not necessarily about the subject in hand. One of the terrific things that the author has added to the collection is an attempt to provide trigger warnings and guide parents to stories that are or are not suitable to a particular child at a specific maturity level. Many of these stories, Elizabeth Bathory just keeps coming to mind, are not for the faint of heart (or stomach) or for a very young audience. An unfortunate number of famous women rose to fame or infamy after an awful lot of abuse of one kind or another, which may make their stories not exactly suitable for toddlers. When the author calls someone’s ex-husband “a crap sandwich” it’s not surprising that the story is not for the youngest audiences. Based on the story, calling this particular ex “a crap sandwich” may possibly have been an insult to both crap and sandwiches. But it is incredibly fun. If you are looking for something to whet your own on someone else’s appetite for diving into more women’s history, this is a great place to start. One final note to prospective readers; the illustrations in Rejected Princesses are terrific and often relevant to the story. Not historically accurate, but always interesting. Because of the illustrations, this is one book that is MUCH better read in print. Which also makes it easier to skim, a temptation that is nearly impossible to resist.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mila

    This book is so important for every woman, I can't even stress this enough. You have a broad list of women: wise women, badass women, broken women, angry women; women who rule, who fight, who love, who educate, and do research of all kinds. I would actually recommend it to anyone, the writing style is amazingly ironic yet serious when it's necessary. The illustrations are wonderful, detailed, and mostly historically accurate. I just can't express my love for this book and the stories it presents This book is so important for every woman, I can't even stress this enough. You have a broad list of women: wise women, badass women, broken women, angry women; women who rule, who fight, who love, who educate, and do research of all kinds. I would actually recommend it to anyone, the writing style is amazingly ironic yet serious when it's necessary. The illustrations are wonderful, detailed, and mostly historically accurate. I just can't express my love for this book and the stories it presents.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)

    4.5/5 100 of the world's boldest, baddest women. It was fantastic and I need a volume two. 4.5/5 100 of the world's boldest, baddest women. It was fantastic and I need a volume two.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenn "JR"

    Here's another NPR-inspired book on my reading list. I borrowed this as an e-book from my library, and found that it took a bit longer to read than I expected (other concurrent books in progress notwithstanding). Content: Overall, the length of different profiles varies somewhat. There are 100 profiles -- about 384 pages total (12% are end notes). The research seems to be really good - the author didn't just do this on a whim so he could create a bunch of Disney-style princess portraits; he's go Here's another NPR-inspired book on my reading list. I borrowed this as an e-book from my library, and found that it took a bit longer to read than I expected (other concurrent books in progress notwithstanding). Content: Overall, the length of different profiles varies somewhat. There are 100 profiles -- about 384 pages total (12% are end notes). The research seems to be really good - the author didn't just do this on a whim so he could create a bunch of Disney-style princess portraits; he's got some really solid research in here on a number of underdogs, heroes and villains -- historical and mythological. There's some very sly commentary in the use of a "rating" system for each profile that describes self-harm, rape, sex, abuse, etc. For example - where a mythological character says "May the earth swallow me up!" and jumps into a pit of lava -- that chapter is marked as "self-harm." What? Sneaky and funny. I don't see a lot of examples of "self-harm" by the women profiled but there are hella "trigger" warnings all over the place. Another thing that seems to be missing is any discussion of female circumcision/genital mutilation (though there is some discussion around accusations of male castration/genital mutilation of one of the characters in the book). References: There are plenty of footnotes and in the e-book, you click on the footnote and are brought to the note, click on the asterisk next to it to return to the page. Super easy system. The reading list at the end is nicely laid out by name, and there's plenty more information on the website for the book. Structure: Each profile is 2-5 pages long, including a picture. There's a portrait page for each of the 100 profiles. Why did it take me so long to get through a book that has 100 pages of pictures? Maybe it's the pictures. I read this on my laptop and on my iPad -- I highly recommend iPad because I was able to flip back to the pictures and zoom in on them to look at details. The author is really good about providing context about the artwork for each person profiled, from symbolism to other characters to period styles in clothing, hair and body type. Tone: A lot of people took exception to the breezy, casual tone of the author. I found it to be very consistent and amusing. Sometimes this really works for him but in other places it seems condescending and out of place. For example, in the Ida B Wells profile, he details some of the horrors she brought to light and he says "If you need to go look at pictures of kittens for a second, it’s understandable. This book will be here. Back? Good." The entirety of the book is viewed through the lens of contemporary Westerners. He does a great job of laying out historical accusations against some women -- and then counter-arguing why "that's all BS made up to undermine a strong, independent woman." He does try to include cultural context for the profiles but it doesn't feel like enough in some cases. For example - he mentions the concept of a "coup stick" but fails to mention that for many indigenous people, the idea of a "battle" could use non-lethal objects and take the form of "tag" and didn't require killing off a bunch of warriors. Nothing says it better than his quote from the last last profile of Phoolan Devi, "Do you have any idea what it’s like to live in a village in India? What you call rape, that kind of thing happens to poor women in the villages every day. It is assumed that the daughters of the poor are for the use of the rich. They assume that we’re their property. In the villages the poor have no toilets, so we must go to the fields, and the moment we arrive, the rich lay us there." It just doesn't seem to me like his version of "City of Women" will stand the test of time as a "serious" or academic book of history but for those of us non-academics who love history and have a sense of humor - hopefully it will provide some ideas for future reading/research directions. Favorite profile: The Night Witches (WOW!) Short changed: Christine de Pisan (I did an entire semester class on her as an undergrad!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    It's only January but I'm pretty sure that this will still be the highlight of my reading year by the time 2017 ends. If you're interested in history (particularly the lesser known kind), you're a feminist, you appreciate art, and/or you're a human being (kind of assuming that last point grabs a lot of you if the others don't) then you should read this book. A few other things: - The tales are about all kinds of different women from all over the world and various times in history and that is so It's only January but I'm pretty sure that this will still be the highlight of my reading year by the time 2017 ends. If you're interested in history (particularly the lesser known kind), you're a feminist, you appreciate art, and/or you're a human being (kind of assuming that last point grabs a lot of you if the others don't) then you should read this book. A few other things: - The tales are about all kinds of different women from all over the world and various times in history and that is so amazing. I've found so many more figures to admire. - The design of the book itself is stunning. - There are maturity levels (1-5) and trigger warnings. - I appreciate how it's well-researched and mentions sources, but is written in a very accessible and fun way. It definitely encouraged me to go do heaps of research of my own too! - That dedication to the author's mum was so lovely. Me and mum might have spent some time just aww-ing over that when we were looking through it together. - I would list my favourite entries but you can find the contents page in the book and online...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    Hugely fun to read. A really interesting collection of women, not all of them heroic. Oddly, there are a few mythical/folkloric figures. Cool to read about, because they are relatively obscure, but I'm here for the real ladies. I really liked the full-page illustrations that come with every story. They reminded me very strongly of Liberty's Kids, and that's (almost) always a good thing. Actually a published version of a still ongoing blog, so I'm off to catch up there. Hugely fun to read. A really interesting collection of women, not all of them heroic. Oddly, there are a few mythical/folkloric figures. Cool to read about, because they are relatively obscure, but I'm here for the real ladies. I really liked the full-page illustrations that come with every story. They reminded me very strongly of Liberty's Kids, and that's (almost) always a good thing. Actually a published version of a still ongoing blog, so I'm off to catch up there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    livvingitup

    This was empowering Honestly, I low-key want to destroy the patriarchy, form a matriarchy and empower young girls. Goals. This was an incredible collection of short stories detailing the histories of women scorned from orthodox history. And I love every single one of these women. They all prevailed against society and themselves and took control of their own fates. These women were truly power and had such significant roles in history. I was and still am, amazed by their tales of heroics. And Jaso This was empowering Honestly, I low-key want to destroy the patriarchy, form a matriarchy and empower young girls. Goals. This was an incredible collection of short stories detailing the histories of women scorned from orthodox history. And I love every single one of these women. They all prevailed against society and themselves and took control of their own fates. These women were truly power and had such significant roles in history. I was and still am, amazed by their tales of heroics. And Jason Porath wrote about them amazingly. In a way, he brought them alive with his comical tone and colloquial language. You can tell he put a lot of work into this book. Every story was vividly detailed and extensively researched. And the images! They're reminiscent of animated films, yet so much deeper. I love how he incorporated symbolic elements in the pictures and used traditional clothing and settings. He is truly a remarkable writer. Now I have to talk about the trigger warnings. Hands down, the best I have seen. The book has progressive levels, with level 1 possessing the most tame stories. Additionally, each story had a content warning, such a violence, sex, abuse, self-harm and rape. Which was incredible. I don't know how many times I picked up a book and had to endure an unwarned rape. So thank you Porath. For making this not only a comfortable reading experience, but giving me the strength the overthrow the patriarchy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Fascinating women from cover to cover...and most of them are women history tried erase from the books. I *DARE* anyone who thinks they hate history to read this book and not enjoy it...dry is one thing it is definitely not! The illustrations which accompany each story are so frickin' cute and the author's witty, snarky writing is easy to read -- the style is conversational and the stories are told in a way that you don't get lost or confused by what's going on. The almost-breezy writing is neede Fascinating women from cover to cover...and most of them are women history tried erase from the books. I *DARE* anyone who thinks they hate history to read this book and not enjoy it...dry is one thing it is definitely not! The illustrations which accompany each story are so frickin' cute and the author's witty, snarky writing is easy to read -- the style is conversational and the stories are told in a way that you don't get lost or confused by what's going on. The almost-breezy writing is needed because most of these women's stories are depressing, harrowing and straight-up terrifying--but don't think the author tries to romanticize or gloss over their stories because he calls out the misogyny and racism that run rampant and handles each story with care. Brilliantly the author has rated each story based on maturity of themes (similar to the movie rating system) and provided color-coded trigger warning labels for each story. Without a question, one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read: it gave me a fresh perspective on some of the women I'd heard of and introduced me to others whose contributions and accomplishments have long been dusted under the rug. I look forward to many, MANY more books from this author.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Molnar

    This book was okay but definitely too long. I would have preferred if fictional/mythical women were left out and those whom "little is known about" because if they aren't real and nothing of what they "did" can be verified, then they weren't really "history's boldest" but more "mythology's boldest". Also, some of these women were quite evil (ahem, Erzebet Bathory) but the author makes them seem like decent gals and only sites one author as his source (there are several sources that say the Blood This book was okay but definitely too long. I would have preferred if fictional/mythical women were left out and those whom "little is known about" because if they aren't real and nothing of what they "did" can be verified, then they weren't really "history's boldest" but more "mythology's boldest". Also, some of these women were quite evil (ahem, Erzebet Bathory) but the author makes them seem like decent gals and only sites one author as his source (there are several sources that say the Blood Countess was a total psycho). Yes, all types of women should be considered "bold" but some actually did earn their tarnished reputations and should not be celebrated so enthusiastically.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aoi

    I really really loved Jason Porath's voice.. I completely adore the way he's captured tales of women from all time periods, from all corners of the world - from the starchily upright to the more flamboyant 'bad girls'. Where's that volume 2 when I need it? :) I really really loved Jason Porath's voice.. I completely adore the way he's captured tales of women from all time periods, from all corners of the world - from the starchily upright to the more flamboyant 'bad girls'. Where's that volume 2 when I need it? :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dee (PlainlyReads)

    Intrigued by the stories. But not a fan of the writing. it's like I'm reading a summary of each characters and it really put me off Intrigued by the stories. But not a fan of the writing. it's like I'm reading a summary of each characters and it really put me off

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)

    Very enjoyable. Not all entries are created equal, of course, and I had issues or were slightly bored with some of them. But on the whole it's a great read, filled with humor but without softening the brutality or tragedy of many of these women's stories (or, on that note, being any less enthusiastic about their successes and legacies). While there are a few women covered I already knew of, in each case the author brought new information and a new perspective, and I learned of so many awesome ne Very enjoyable. Not all entries are created equal, of course, and I had issues or were slightly bored with some of them. But on the whole it's a great read, filled with humor but without softening the brutality or tragedy of many of these women's stories (or, on that note, being any less enthusiastic about their successes and legacies). While there are a few women covered I already knew of, in each case the author brought new information and a new perspective, and I learned of so many awesome new people. Seems to me like a great read for anyone who would otherwise be a little intimidated to go diving right into a history book, or who wants a place to start to find someone to research more in depth on their own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enough that I checked out the web page. It is a large variety of women from many cultures and times and what they did. He arranged the book, not chronologically or other conventional methods but on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most likely to not be told to kids for a variety of reasons such as sex, violence, self harm, rape, etc. it certainly knocks women off the gentle and frail pedestal! His last entry was nicknamed countess Dracula and may be at least par I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enough that I checked out the web page. It is a large variety of women from many cultures and times and what they did. He arranged the book, not chronologically or other conventional methods but on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most likely to not be told to kids for a variety of reasons such as sex, violence, self harm, rape, etc. it certainly knocks women off the gentle and frail pedestal! His last entry was nicknamed countess Dracula and may be at least part of where the Dracula legend came from. Let's just say I'm just as glad not to know her in person! This is a really needed book. Girls reading it will certainly discover women can do anything!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marie the Librarian

    lots of great entries, I like that its not all sunshine and rainbows but also tell some of the dark and awful things. the entries are marked with content warnings.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received this book as a birthday present from my parents and was very excited to read it. I have been seeing more and more books for young girls teaching them about famous women in history that seem to get overlooked in our history classes. This was one that I had not seen before. Rejected Princesses is the brain child of Jason Porath, a former animator for Dreamworks. He states in his book that one day at lunch he and his colleagues were joking about what unlikely women could get the Disney p I received this book as a birthday present from my parents and was very excited to read it. I have been seeing more and more books for young girls teaching them about famous women in history that seem to get overlooked in our history classes. This was one that I had not seen before. Rejected Princesses is the brain child of Jason Porath, a former animator for Dreamworks. He states in his book that one day at lunch he and his colleagues were joking about what unlikely women could get the Disney princess treatment and he found that most could not name many or did not know a lot of the ones that were named. Thus was born Rejected Princesses. The idea behind this book is that Jason Porath took 100 of the most badass women in history, whether real or folk lore, and put an excerpt of their lives in this book. If you want to know more about them, he also has a companion website: RejectedPrincesses.com. I absolutely loved the choices of women that Porath decided to put into this book because I knew very few of them and loved learning about their stories. I was also eternally grateful that not all of the women were inherently good. Thank god! Women are not these perfectly wonderful creatures that can do no wrong, sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we are evil, sometimes we are badass warriors who don't care about raising a family. This book has a WONDERFUL mix of women on all sides of the morality spectrum. And it is beautiful. Now, that being said, I do not believe this book was perfect in its execution. Porath was very colloquial in his language of the book. Sometimes I felt like I was in a one-sided conversation with him about these women. He used slang, made jokes, interjected his own thoughts and feelings, etc. Now, I do not believe that this is wrong or even bad, but I do not think it had a place in this book. It was sometimes hard to follow the stories of these women because he'd go back and forth so many times. If people buy this as a storybook to read to their children, I'm not sure they would like it: the parents or the kids. Don't get me wrong, some of his jokes are funny and even his insights are interesting, but it's not what I wanted to see in a book like this. Overall, I really enjoyed learning about all of the women in this book that I had never even heard of and would love to learn more about all of them. I'm glad this book exists, I just think it could be done better.

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