From Publishers Weekly
Morris, in partnership with her mother, produced a PBS documentary series meant to empower women by traveling to exotic locales and seeking out "divas": women creating positive change in their societies through passionate and often convention-defying actions. Among her subjects: the first female beat cop in India, who later reformed the prison system; an Iranian publisher of a feminist magazine fighting strict censorship laws; and a pop star who rocked New Zealand's cultural divides. With these women as the focus, Morris and her crew provide novel and extensive explorations of different cultures. Despite the author's objective to avoid reinforcing stereotypes, she does occasionally stumble on her own biases. For instance, her aversion to organized religion clearly colors her translation of cultures heavy with holy history. Morris's writing is clean, rhythmic and full of both storytelling flair and journalistic pragmatism. The story of the spunky project itself, from the obstacles overcome while producing an independent documentary series to Morris's adventures along the way (she takes on a side job hosting another travel show, eats with Malaysian headhunters, climbs Switzerland's Matterhorn and rides through the Sahara Desert on camelback), is as inspiring as the divas themselves. B&w photos, illus.
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This is not just about travel, although it's as adventurous as can be. More than that, it's Morris' account of leaving her deskbound publishing job and joining her broadcaster mother to form Adventure Divas to track down "unsung visionaries," women who changed the world in Cuba, India, New, Zealand, and Iran, for what became an award-winning PBS series. (Between diva searches, to replenish company coffers, Morris takes jobs hunting headhunters in Borneo, climbing the Matterhorn, and crossing the Sahara.) Morris' interviews--with, among others, Black Panther exile Assata Shakur in Cuba; top cop Kiran Bedi in India; author Keri Hulme, who wrote Morris' beloved The
Bone People, in New Zealand; and blind folksinger Pari Zanganeh, who wears a hat instead of a veil, in Iran--are thoughtful and probing, revealing the differences between their lives and those of American women. Her text adds context--and humor--to the project, warts and all (blank film in India, hotel fire in New Zealand). A good bet for feminists, fans of the PBS shows, adventure travelers, and anyone who wants a good read. Michele LeberCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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