I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

In this book, the author covers a wide variety of women from different cultures, different races, different countries, different centuries going back two millenniums.  There are athletes, artists, mothers, environmentalists, scientists, pirates, writers, rulers, rulebreakers, and revolutionaries.  The one thing they have in common is that they all persisted no matter the cost.

Grace "Granualie" O'Malley lived from 1530-1603 in Ireland and was a notorious pirate. Her father was a sea captain with a fleet of ships and had two castles on Ireland's west coast: Clare Island and Kildawnet on Achill Island.  As a young girl she cut off her long red hair and dressed in boys clothes which went against the mores of the times. At age sixteen she married an Irish chieftain and they had three children. When her father died she took control of his fleet and when her husband died his clansmen joined her as well. She traded with Spain and Portugal with piracy on the side she soon gained quite the reputation for being the daring sea captain.  When England began taking over Ireland, the chieftains began to surrender, but not Grace. They captured her but she escaped and led her people in rebellion against the English when she was around sixty-years-old.  The English kidnapped her son and accused him of treason, which carried a death sentence.  Grace marched right up to see Elizabeth I in order to secure his release.  This put her at great risk, but Elizabeth talked with her and they came to an understanding when Grace explained how the Queen's generals had treated her people.  Elizabeth freed her son and let her continue to with her sea fairing ways.  Grace lived into her seventies and had a remarkable life even if half of the stories about her are true.

Fe Del Mundo lived from 1911 to 2011 and was from Manilla, Philippines.  At the age of fifteen, she enrolled at the Universtiy of the Philippines and earned her first medical degree there.  She decided to pursue pediatrics and sent in her application to Harvard and in 1936 at age 24 she arrived there to attend. The problem was that Harvard still wasn't accepting women. They thought the name Fe was a man's name. But her resume was so impressive that they decided to accept her anyway and she became the first woman admitted to Harvard Medical School.  She also studied at the University of Chicago, M.I.T., and Boston University after leaving Harvard.  At the beginning of World War II, she went back to the Philippines to be of use to those in her country. She and the Red Cross established The Children's Home for sick children.  Fe became known as the "Angel of Santo Tomas".  She would go on to open the first children's hospital in the Philippines selling all that she owned to help pay for it.  She "made discoveries that revolutionized pediatric medicine both in the Philippines and around the world."

In 1817 in the country of Columbia it was at the time a colony of the Spanish. But the revolution was in the air and Policarpa "La Pola" Salvarrieta became a key part of it. An orphan who was raised with her siblings by her godparents. While her brothers became soldiers she fought in a different way. She became a talented seamstress who made uniforms for those supporting Spain and listened in on their conversations with each other.  She was also a top recruiter.  Then she was caught and charged with treason and espionage.  She was given a chance to renounce her activities and save her life, but she refused.  When offered wine at her public execution she refused and when the priests began the final rituals, she refused to repeat the final prayers shouting instead at the top of her voice of Spain's defeat. When the drummers played louder she yelled even louder than them. When told to turn around when it came time for the firing squad to kill her she refused and met them head on. Her final words were "I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more. Do not forget my example."  Her face is on currency and stamps and the day of her death, November 14 is still celebrated in Columbia at the Day of Columbian Women.

There are so many women listed here that are worth talking about. Enheduanna who is the first known author on the planet, Malala Yousafzai who fights for the right for girls to receive an education, Qiu Jin, the modern day Mulan, Liv Arnessen and Ann Bancroft who were the first women to walk across Antarctica, the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo who never let anyone forget their missing children, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti who helped bring about Nigerian independence, Faith Bandler the Civil Rights fighter in Austraila, and Sophie Scholl who was a part of the White Roses who criticized the Nazis with pamphlets that distributed around Germany.   This is an amazing book to read about brave women who dared to go and to be something beyond themselves.  

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rad-Women-Worldwide-Athletes-Revolutionaries-ebook/dp/B01AERZRYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492178795&sr=1-1&keywords=rad+women+worldwide


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