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They Went Whistling: Women Wayfarers, Warriors, Runaways, and Renegades Paperback – February 5, 2002
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These women lived fascinating lives. Often it is not their virtuousness that is prized, but their gall and utter disregard for living within societal lines. In the chapter entitled "Menswear," we learn that as a young woman George Sand found that when "dressed as a man, she was treated as a man, and allowed to argue and speak her mind." She henceforth lived a life of androgyny, holding "the peculiar idea that she could be a man as well as a woman, alternately and simultaneously." Then there is the story of Grace O' Malley, an Irish pirate who commandeered her own fleet of plundering ships. And who has produced more rumors and speculation than Amelia Earhart, who "for over two weeks was the most famous person in the world"? Holland also divulges obscure facts and personality traits. For instance, few know that Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde) was an avid romance reader and writer who wrote poems about her adventures. "For Bonnie, crime was the epic ballad she was weaving out of her life."
While the histories are straightforward and detailed, Holland spices these pages with witty and satirical interjections. This book is long overdue and goes far in leveling the historical field of recognition. --Jacque Holthusen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
We may have thought we knew the likes of Joan of Arc and Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde) from the movies, plays and poems about them. With "They Went Whistling" we get closer to the real women, and they're a great deal more fascinating than the Hollywood versions. Holland's got the facts to back up her statements, but this book is no dry history lesson: it's a heck of a lot of fun.
One of my favorite women is Mary Kingsley, born in England in 1862. At the age of 30, a spinster, she went off to West Africa to explore. Alone. Her adventures were amazing; her humor a delightful bonus. A crocodile, Kingsley wrote in her journal, "chose to get his front paws over the stern of my canoe, and endeavored to improve our acquaintance. I had to retire to the bows, to keep the balance right, and fetch him a clip on the snout with a paddle...."
In her introduction, Holland writes, "In the index to Kenneth Clark's definitive `Civilisation' ... we find the names of 395 men and eleven women...." Men may get the credit for inventing the wheel and the skyscraper, but with Holland's latest book we can celebrate women who ruled, battled, explored and exploited a few corners of the world, too. Most highly recommended.
In her book, "Hail to the Chiefs," Holland dug up facts and anecdotes about past presidents of the United States and served them up on a delicious dish of hilarious humor. In "They Went Whistling," she has managed to do the same, but this time she has chosen, along with famous women, some we would never have heard of without Holland's wonderful and descriptive tales. I loved learning that Cleopatra was not the "ultimate siren" or the "pure sexual temptation" that the Romans and Hollywood made her out to be. Instead, "according to Plutarch, she spoke nine or ten languages," and, as Holland says, "Cleopatra knew a thing or two about pharmaceuticals...she'd written a book on cosmetics full of ingredients unknown to Estee Lauder."
And then there's Daisy Bates, in her Victorian garb, running around with the Australian Aborigines, learning "a hundred and twenty-nine languages." Bates also "had a son that didn't particularly appeal to her," but, Holland says, "as a general rule the whistling women made absentminded mothers."
Indeed, I agree with the accolades Russell Baker and Dave Berry offer to Holland's books. I believe she is one of the finest writers of this century. She writes with a grace and style unmatched.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As with all of Barbara Holland books, this book delightfully takes a reader through the historical adventures of numerable known women. Absolutely a great read!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A lot of interesting tidbits about MANY brave/odd/out-there women, many of whom I'd never heard of. Would have liked a reference section of books, papers, other sources the author... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Arielle M.
I am not a great reviewer, I am not particularly eloquent but I must strongly recommend you try this book. The women written about within are strong, fearless, and fascinating. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Nora Reed
Bold, brave, "take no prisoners," women making trails despite men and society wanting them to stay in the kitchen and make pies.Published 22 months ago by Robin Carlson
The book was very interesting. I didn't know there were so many women out there who were so untraditional. I also liked the author's writing style.Published on March 23, 2013 by rj
This was something that was picked for our book club. I found it to be awful. Didn't read the whole thing.Published on March 14, 2010 by Km
Who knew,that before women's lib became popular, there were bold females that challenged the norms of their day and used both their feminine wiles and courage to "go where no woman... Read morePublished on July 24, 2009 by E. Klein
"A woman strolling down the street on a splendid morning might feel like whistling, but whistling in a dress would be absurd. Read morePublished on October 20, 2007 by Mr. Joe
Last night my 6-year-old granddaughter Emily and I hugged each other close, and watched "Eight Below" for the first time. Read morePublished on July 21, 2006 by Mark Blackburn