What We're Reading: "Rejected Princesses" by Jason Porath
World history has a gaping hole. There exist few well-known women in a world of documents, literature, and bardic traditions that placed men in the forefront of action, science, and renown. The women who did make their way into the history books are known to different degrees depending on how much fame they received over time.
Catherine the Great ruled with an iron will and determination. Rosa Parks stood up for an entire marginalized race and opened her own life to spiteful attacks in order to help others. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize and demonstrate that science and genius are not limited to one particular sex. Of course, it was awarded jointly alongside her husband, but at least she was included. Other than a handful of well-known names, though, where are the other women who took action, stood up to ridicule, and used their incredible intellect to change the world? Author Jason Porath began a truly considerable project when he began searching out the women who helped to change the world. Honestly, each one of the women he researched and recorded deserve their own cinematic screen time because their stories rival the best known adventures of the ages.
In ancient Greece, a female physician, Agnodice, secretly practiced her medical arts by disguising herself as a man because to do so openly would be asking for a death sentence. She became especially popular with the ladies of the time because she understood the female anatomy far better than any male colleague. Her success in the workplace began to cause jealousy among the other physicians and she ended up on trial anyway. When it came out during the trial that she was female it looked like her end was near. However, she was saved when the women she had helped flooded the court praising her abilities and daring the men to touch her.
Agnodice is just the beginning of almost a hundred women whose names have mostly been lost in common history. Wrestling princesses, tsarinas who saved countries, a female midnight rider who saved many more people than Paul Revere, and a pirate queen of Ireland who ended up sailing right to England to have a discussion with Queen Elizabeth are just a tiny amount of the many fascinating, shocking, and incredible women with whom Porath filled his book, Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics. Each fantastic story includes a colorful illustration showcasing the heroine and often including fun details from the stories.
Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath is well worth reading for many reasons. Learning about the women who have made a mark on the world, enjoying the astonishing stories, and enjoying the gorgeous artwork are just a few of the reasons.