The serpent and the goddess

Using Ireland as a case study, this book provides an account of the decline of matriarchal power in Western civilizations and analyzes its implications for today’s women and today’s Catholic Church. From the age of Eve to the age of Brigit to the age of Mary, the author traces the rise of patriarchial consciousness. Mary […]

The diaries of Nella Last : writing in war & peace

This collection brings together into a single volume the best of Nella Last’s prolific outpourings, including a great deal of new, unpublished material from the war years. Capturing the everyday trials and horrors of wartime Britain and the nation’s transition into peacetime and beyond, Nella’s touching and often humorous narrative provides an invaluable historical portrait […]

The truth about stories

From what I remember I bought this book a few years ago because of Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe reading challenge. I didn’t get around to reading it then, but for some reason it popped out at me when I went to shelve a different book. So I picked it up and started reading. It […]

Hidden figures [based on the book by]

[imdb_movie_detail title=”Hidden Figures” detail=”plot”] Oh, I really enjoyed this film. So much more than I thought I would. I mean a story based on maths doesn’t sound all that entertaining. But I suppose that isn’t really what this is about, it is about the women who fought to show NASA just how vital they were […]

The History Thieves : secrets, lies and the shaping of a modern nation

In 1889, the first Official Secrets Act was passed and created offences of ‘disclosure of information’ and ‘breach of official trust’. It limited and monitored what the public could, and should, be told. Since then, Britain’s governments and civil service have been engaged in the greatest identity fraud of all time – the dishonest and […]

SPQR : a history of ancient Rome

The Roman Empire still holds quite a sway in modern imaginations and culture. Gladiator and the tv show Rome are only two examples of its pop culture hold, and we still quote what may, or may not be, actual Roman lines. Rome is still important to us, and in this book, covering the beginnings of […]

ghosts of vesuvius

Ghosts of Vesuvius

It is hard to blurb this book. On the one hand it is about Vesuvius and volcanic explosions and disasters both natural and man-made. But it is also a book about the origins of the earth, of the universe, and about how precarious our existence is. How so much of what we are today is dependent on natural events a thousand years ago, or a millennia ago, or so long ago that it is almost pointless to count the time because it is so difficult to grasp those sort of numbers.

A vindication of the rights of woman

In the present state of society, it appears necessary to go back to first principles in search of the most simple truths, and to dispute with some prevailing prejudice every inch of ground.

eBook number 3420 ; Read for A Year of Feminist Classics ; Quotes.

This is one of the earliest books of feminist writing out there. In it Wollstonecraft argues in favour of the rights of women, in favour of educating women, in favour of treating men and women equally. But because it was written so long ago, 1792, a lot of what she has to say sounds very out-dated and obvious to modern readers. Or at least I hope it does. As such it was a good choice to start of the Year of Feminist Classics, as it does a great job at setting the scene. And of showing how far we have come. Although it could be argued that we have a lot further to go.

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Singled out

Full title: Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War
ISBN: 9780670915644

The term “lost generation” is often used to refer to the generation who came of age in World War I, a term commonly used to refer to those who died in the war, especially those of the upper-class. These, the “flower of youth” were the young men aged in the early twenties in the war. The loss of these men had a huge knock on effect in Britain. In this book Nicholson looks at the women of that lost generation and how their lives were forced to change from their expected path to marriage and motherhood.

These were the so-called “surplus women” the two million or so who would never marry, would never have children, and who were, in many eyes, a problem to be dealt with.

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Wedlock

Mary Eleanor Bowes was born in 1749. Her father was extremely wealthy and, unusually for the time, had her well educated. A most eligible young woman, not least because she was the richest heiress in C18th Britain. Her first wedding was nothing unusual for the time. Pretty loveless and to an older man it wasn’t a romantic love match. Her second, to a dashing young soldier, was. Mary Eleanor probably hadn’t intended to marry Andrew Robinson Stoney, but upon hearing that he had fought a duel for her honour and was laying on his deathbed wishing for nothing but her hand in marriage… well, who could resist that romance!

The Courtesan’s Revenge

Harriette Wilson, the woman who blackmailed the king
ISBN: 0571205240
See also: LibraryThing ; Other reviews

Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs omit both time and place; there are no addresses given, no locations described, no elections, diseases, or wars. “Dates make ladies nervous and stories dry,” she wrote.

It has taken me quite a while to finish this book. Usually that isn’t a very good sign, it means I’ve not really being all that interested in it, but usually I don’t read non-fiction. Whenever I do it always takes me longer to get through.

This is the story of Harriette Wilson who grew up to become a courtesan in Regency London. The woman whose Memoirs caused a scandal, and raised her quite a bit of cash, as those named began to buy her silence. But as well as that it is a story of how few options there were available to women at that time. It was a case of be married or be damned. Harriette seems to have chosen the damned option. It was her book that led to the, now famous, if incorrect line by Wellington, “publish and be damned”.

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The Squad

Michael Collins is frequently cited as the originator of modern urban terrorism. The British characterised his Squad as ‘the murder gang’ and had they knowingly captured members of of the Squad they would almost certainly have exectued them.

Irish history is full of revolutionaries and failed rebellions, of informers giving information to the English, and spies infiltrating Irish organisations. Michael Collins recognised the importance of the intelligence network and so in 1919 he formulated a plan to blind the eyes of Dublin Castle by ensuring that the police force were as terrorised and demoralised as possible.