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Encyclopedia of Amazons, The Paperback – July 1, 1992

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazons, gladiators, martial nuns, maenads, warrior queens, pirates, guerrillas, furies, and avenging goddesses -- the fighting women who populate the pages of this fabulous encyclopedia marched boldly through the ages armed with swords, axes, bows, and most importantly, their uniquely feminine fortitude.

Here is the first work to gather and detail these tales of womanly valor and derring-do. Drawing from a cross-cultural perspective, the book ranges through mythology, religion, history, and literature, from ancient to modern times. Contains more than 1,000 entries! --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

While the words "amazon" and "women warriors" conjure up images of 1950s B-movies, this is an excellent piece of scholarly detective work. Salmonson defines the term "amazon" through Greek mythology and includes only those women who actually participate in direct combat. She excludes from the encyclopedia women who were spies, assassins, famous murderesses or criminals, orators, or hunters. Salmonson provides biographical information on female figures from all time periods, including antiquity, the Middle Ages, and World War II, and from many different parts of the world, including Japan, Asia, Africa, Western Europe, and the United States. Included are real individuals, mythological and fictional characters, goddesses, and archetypes. Based upon primary and secondary works listed in the bibliography, this volume offers information not found in other reference sources and is recommended for all medium-to-large public, university, and college libraries.
- Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385423667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385423663
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,640,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a student of medieval history, I found the book to be valuable in acquainting me with histories of women warriors in early European history. However, I can't forgive Ms. Salmonson for her gross error in the death of Aethelflaed, warrior daughter of Alfred the Great. While Aethelflaed did help her brother drive the Vikings out of England, she most certainly didn't die in combat as alleged by the author. Please read the excellent biograghy, "The Lady Who Fought the Vikings," by Don Stansbury. She did lead her forces but was more known as a peace and treaty maker, and she never fought in combat.
I feel that Ms. Salmonson may have taken literary license with other historical figures so please investigate further any women warriors that interest you. I have my own copy of this book but believe it may have other flaws. Nevertheless, it still is an excellent compendium of women warriors and makes great reading for historians and lovers of fantasy fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Discounting the entries for fictional woman warriors or even a few misplaced aggressive sorceresses, after reading through this you will realise that women have never acquiesced entirely to being penned inside the role of nurturer and care-giver. If anything, in ancient days they may have been just as aggressive and destructive as men, because they were just as powerful. Certainly, this book made me realise that at any time in history, in almost any culture, there are women who take up arms, whether in wars or barfights, and if a minority, they are not a myth or "a twisted male fantasy." This would have been stronger as a history, or at least an encyclopedia arranged by dates rather than alphabet (it has been done). It would benefit from the addition of an index by time and place. It's excellent to carry with you to browse in traffic jams, waiting rooms, and other bits of time, since you can read it one or two articles at a time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised when I found this many reviews for the kind of book one may find primarily in the bargain book piles or in larger used book sales. That does not make this a poor book, only one with a very limited audience. But, it has at least two things about which I must warn you.

The first is that the book is most certainly NOT only about Amazons, those female warriors, who were myths even to the ancient Greeks who created them. Of course, if it were only about Amazons, it would be a very thin book. It is not even limited to female characters in ancient Greek myths. It includes entries on Joan of Arc and Annie Oakley, but here is one of the weaknesses. If there were any one character we would expect to get first class treatment in such a book, it would be Joan of Arc. Instead, her entry is smaller than those for women who emulated and attempted to pattern themselves after Joan. The entry on the less important Annie Oakley is twice as long.

The second, and more serious problem is the lack of references for the book's sources. This is an ESSENTIAL function for such a book, in order to earn a place as a reference book, which is what the title suggests. Most, but not all entries have a single word reference, pointing to a book in the bibliography. The bibliography is pretty good, since it includes most major references on mythology that I have used, including the very useful Robert Graves book, "The Greek Myths". What is odd is that the entry on Athena does not refer to Graves, which would seem to be the most logical source. Even worse, it does not refer to the original Greek sources.
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Format: Hardcover
A true unveiling of the Herstory that needs to be told! This book is really an encyclopedia with entry upon entry of strong, brave, and heroic women! The author uses various sources, historical and mythological to tell the stories of these women who you'll never hear about in any other accounting of history! A pretty exhaustive source for heroines I only wish she could write an entire book about every one of the entries!!!
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Format: Paperback
Okay, so to be fair, this is called "The Encyclopedia of Amazons", but I expected it to be less of an actual encyclopedia and more along the lines of "heres a few pages about this person, and here's a few pages about this person" etc. It was actually fairly interesting, it just wasn't quite what I expected. The one real issue I had with the book was that facts weren't always clearly cited. This was an issue because there were multiple occasions where the author presented things as fact that, from other reading I've done, seem to be disputed because of lack of reliable sources.

Received from NetGalley.
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Format: Paperback
I recently had the good fortune to obtain a copy of this book second-hand, and am finding it an unputdownable, fascinating read. Quite simply, it has to be one of the strongest aids in righting the imbalance of history as it is traditionally recounted. Once the general feeling of astonishment subsides, it becomes an affirmation of the tenacious strength and courage of women. This something that we are all too often encouraged to disown, ignore, and utterly forsake, to the huge detriment of ourselves as *people*, regardless of gender.
Consume this book, and learn to celebrate everything within you that is considered unbecoming, unfeminine, and unseemly. Those are the words of a terrified patriarchal society unable to treat such strength and courage equally, as Ms. Salmonson illustrates for us so well.
I would advise reading 'The Women's History Of The World' by Rosalind Miles after this; I suspect the reader would then be left with a flaming indignance and anger about the current state of womankind . . .
So, obtain a copy of this wonderful book by any means possible - treasure it; and openly applaude those women today who live by their own truths, strengths, and convictions, and who kick society's apple-cart over in doing so - more of it, I say!
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