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on December 10, 1999
Lady Fraser's book is an excellent treatment of her topic. I was concerned that it might be too politically correct, but in fact she has examined the ways in which women have accepted and cemented positions of power. Her analysis treats on a wide historical range and does not limit itself to the familiar figures: Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, etc. Her style is informative but not difficult and pleasant without being overly colloquial. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how women present themselves in order to attain and hold power and to people interested in learning more about some histories they would probably not otherwise come across.
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on August 11, 2000
This book, like many by Antonia Fraser, was very entertaining and quite thrilling. There was a British bias but it helped to frame the book and there were many side journeys to other nations to keep this journey fascinating.
What was most interesting was how the various women used being women to their advantage as well as how their enemies also used their femaleness against them. Antonia Fraser weaves all these women together but clearly presents their differences. They are all linked by being women but it is shown how that very similarity can be so differently used and percieved by all these various warriors. The inidivduals that come out of this story are unique and interesting. It is these vivid brief portraits that carry this book along. Well done.
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on January 23, 2004
This is not a pop-history book. I picked this book up expecting it to be a very easy read but was surprised when I found myself reading through a book that would not have been out of place in any of my college history courses. Fraser has painted a very fascinating picture of various warrior queens around the world. Though at times, the narrative drags through her meticulous statement of facts, that is to be expected. I was very disappointed at her omission of the Egyptian pharaoh-queen Hatshepsut, however. Nevertheless, the women that she picks to include in her analysis make up a very good overview of the various warrior queens throughout the world and through time. It was an extremely interesting read and I would recommend it for anyone who has an interest in historical women as well as the the patience to read a (mostly) scholarly work.
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on October 2, 2005
Antonia Fraser superbly writes about Boadicea of Great Britain, Catherine the Great of Russia, Elizabeth the First of England, Queen Isabella of Spain, the Rani of Jhansi, and the obscure Queen Jinga of Angola. All are delineated with grace and fervour and this book is another welcome addition to the opus of Lady Antonia Fraser. It is very highly recommended.

Timothy Wingate Ottawa CANADA
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on May 28, 2010
Boadicea. Yeah, you know the one. Led a bunch of Celts who were still using chariots against Roman legions with predictable results. Well, she is all through this book - which is a pity. You see, the great value of this work to me was it's promise of discussion of...well... warrior queens. It's such a fascinating subject and is crying out for a book really, and certainly Lady Fraser is a well known author of history and she has certainly had a successful career. And as I read this book I thought that she'd done a good job of coalescing a bunch of sources for some of the characters she discusses quite well. She doesn't seem to have done any original research but she must have spent quite some time going through some obscure reference works -as her succinct notes and bibliography attest.

But - Lady Fraser spends the first 90+ pages waffling on about Boadicea. Now there is nothing wrong with that per se, it's just that first of all the book is only 330 pages long and secondly, with all the interesting and amazing women featured in this book Boadicea is by far the best known in the English speaking world and, conversely, therefore probably the least interesting for the average armchair history buff. Not only that, but the good Lady Fraser relentlessly drags the Celtic queen into discussion of the other women rulers she is covering either to point out similarities or differences. In effect the others are viewed through a Boadicea prism and given the paucity of information about her that's perhaps not a great hook for the author to hang her hat on.

That's not to say that much of this wasn't new to me and I am certainly happy to have bought it. It provides concise discussion of a range of women rulers who either led their nations in war or were directly involved in the war effort of their nations in some capacity - Queen Tamara of Georgia, Queen Isabella of Spain, Zenobia, the Rani of Jhansi and others are all interesting in their own way and unless you are a specialist you are probably going to get all the information you'd ever want on each of them here. And the aforementioned notes and bibliography will assist those hankering for more. And the various devices used by these women rulers to maintain their rule in historical times when it was very much a mans world is covered extensively (smaller than average type helps the author pack a punch with an otherwise average sized book).

The dense prose of the author means this book is probably a hard slog for the layman which is in some ways a pity as she has chosen a real corker of a subject to cover in this book. And that, as well as her myopic fascination with Boadicea, seems to consign this book to the domain of real history buffs as opposed to any general readership looking for something different to read about - the sort of literary equivalent to a breezy TV history show. A healthy four stars for the subject matter, the research, the gumption to take on something of this nature, but you have to be receptive to the thickly worded prose and classical allusions.
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on March 25, 2014
This woman can write! Except for her Mary Queen of Scots, which is completely biased, and who knows why (Mary was a complete twit), all of her historical books are wonderful. Well written, thoroughly researched, thoughtful.
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on June 7, 2006
For all the exalted reputation Lady Antonia Fraser enjoys as a historian and writer, I expected this work to be far more informative and entertaining than it actually was. Despite her fascinating subject, Lady Fraser manages to flog it to death with endless historical references, obscure citations and literary allusions. I found the text to be so cluttered up and bogged down with arcane details and research notes that the actual subject matter was obscured by the author's very erudition. In a word: BORING. I hoped that after determinedly slogging through two opening chapters of explication and introduction, the body of the book pertaining to the fascinating women selected to represent history's Warrior Queens would pick up speed and capture my fast fading interest. Nope. Ponderous at best, the writing never seems to catch fire and I found myself hoping the next chapter would be better than the one I was reading. This is slow going and fails to reward the reader who actually gets through it. The last chapter of "summation" just repeats quotations and points made throughout the main text. Very disappointing and far from Lady Fraser's best effort. This more closely resembles the senior thesis of a graduate who has spent too much time in the library than the sparkling historical depiction of female political and military leaders throughout time which I was hoping to find.
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on March 23, 2010
This is an excellent read for the history buff. The fact that queens were actually warriors in Medival Times is very interesting. This author writes in a very readable manner.
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on February 19, 2008
The book devotes one or more chapters to individual female leaders throughout history. The first "warrior" - Boudica - truly was a warrior queen. She receives the most coverage with 7 chapters (approximately 100 pages) as well as occasional references throughout the book. Also included are Zenobia (3rd Century Queen of Palmyra), Matilda of Tuscany, Maud (daughter of Henry I), Queen Tamara (late 12th Century Georgia), Queen Isabella of Spain, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Jinga, Queen Louise of Prussia, and a few modern female leaders.

For the most part, the chapters comprise short biographies told in an easy-to-read narrative style. My only complaint is the strong female rights sub-theme or thesis. The attitudes are dated, albeit understandable since the book was first published in 1988.

The Warrior Queens serves as a good introduction to historical female leaders as well as an introductory biography for any one of the women covered.
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on September 13, 2014
This is an interesting account of the lives of some famous women from history, who made themselves felt in the worlds they lived in.
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