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Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women's History of the World Paperback – April 10, 2001
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The history of women is, of necessity, also the history of men, and Miles claims the turning point for the former came when the latter finally got the great Aha!--the realization that sperm was essential for fertilization and that men weren't as superfluous to procreation as previously believed. What follows is not only the story of the attack on women's bodies and repression of their lives, but of women who found ways to subvert and convert the power of men. Examples of active, courageous, and inspiring women abound, from women warriors in Islam to the woman doctor who opened the first birth control clinic. Miles also reveals the barbaric truths behind euphemisms like chastity belt and child bride, and the truly impressive strength of such heroines as Florence Nightingale, who was nicknamed "the lady with the hammer" for attacking a locked storeroom when she needed nursing supplies, and Harriet "General" Tubman, who not only smuggled black slaves to freedom but commanded an action during the Civil War that liberated more than 750 blacks. This is a bracing, disturbing, and always lively read and proves definitively that in history there were always women, too. --Lesley Reed
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
This book explores women's role in life and work from the beginning of recorded time all the way up to the present. Who knew that for 25,000 years - up until about 2,000 years ago - that every known society worshiped an all powerful goddess? I certainly didn't. Miles explodes the myths of 'man's' evolution and carefully examines the ways in which woman's position altered throughout different eras. While she uses 'famous' women as references, she's careful to point out that these stories only represent a fraction of what women were actually doing, and what they were doing is generally very different from how it's typically portrayed.
One criticism I've heard about the book - but do not share - is its simplistic view, that it comes from a particular position with particular assumptions and goes on from there. To me, this book is merely one perspective on history that uses a completely different model of interpretation. Basically, while it's a terrific book, it's still just one book tackling a subject - the history of the world - about which thousands upon thousands have been written.
I've found this to be a thoroughly delightful and rewarding read, as it taught me that to say that women and their experiences are typically not included in the standard version of history is not an overstatement - I learned so much that I feel I should've known already.Read more ›
I, as well as Miles, grew up wondering where in the world women fit into history---as far as I could see, "his" story was a conglomeration of white men making all the decisions, while women (if they existed at all) hid in the shadows of these powerful (and often very stupid) men. As I read the book, anger overwhemlmed me as I realized that women's history is indeed that of an oppressed majority---an enriching, exciting history that is erased and/or obscured by men looking to dominate the scene. I began to appreciate the gravity of Miles' task of retelling it more and more, and understood the urgency of her success and the very thin ice she tred upon.
This, unfortunately, is where Miles fell in my opinion. She is a powerful author and can paint a picture like few male or female historians before her, however the picture she paints is with terribly bitter and dangerous colors. Her anger (and mine, and every other female's in the world) is understandable and necessary and is a birthright, but Miles takes it too far. She claims that man is a deviation, that his Y chromosome is a "broken and misformed X".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting, but a bit over the top in some places. Starts off strong showing how early womankind was in fact integral to the survival of our early forebears and how primitive... Read morePublished 4 months ago by ARG
A wonderful overview of history from the female perspective. This book is not hostile or frustrated, but rather opens us all to see that our world has been equally dependent on... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Deb S
Re-published under an intriguing title, this is an enlightening book for anyone new or experienced in details, ideas, and culture of Western traditions.Published 10 months ago by Bill
Excellent book about the hidden history of women. Every person alive should read this!Published 15 months ago by Jena
I recommend it to everybody, women and men alike. One of the best books, wish it can be translated in every language.Published 17 months ago by Mama-Mia
This is about the worst book I have read in a long time. it is outdated- a feminist rant from the 80s. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Elizabeth B. Mumford