Cool Women: The Thinking Girls Guide to the Hippest Women in History


Featuring images from real life, fiction, and pop culture, "Cool Women" is the thinking girl's guide to the hippest ladies in history. The mix of profiles is eclectic and creative enough to capture every girl's interest, from Catwoman to Amelia Earhart to Cleopatra. Color illustrations & photos. Size D. 128 pp. National author tour. Print publicity.
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Featuring images from real life, fiction, and pop culture, "Cool Women" is the thinking girl's guide to the hippest ladies in history. The mix of profiles is eclectic and creative enough to capture every girl's interest, from Catwoman to Amelia Earhart to Cleopatra. Color illustrations & photos. Size D. 128 pp. National author tour. Print publicity.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Joyce W. Yen
Spotlighting heroines of the past and present, from comic book queens to Scarlett O'Hara, Amazons to Shirley Muldowney, Althea Gibson to Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi, Cool Women provides short, individual biographies as well as summaries of groups of women. Women from a variety of fields are applauded for their uniqueness, strength, tenacity, contributions, and ability to blaze new trails for women. Two highlights include Babe Didrikson Zaharias and "Lady Spies." After leading her team to a national basketball championship, the Associated Press named Babe Female Athlete of the Year-an award she received six times. At the Olympic Trials Babe competed in eight track events, broke four world records, and went on to set three world records at the 1932 Olympics. Golf was next, as Babe helped establish the LPGA. "Lady Spies" Harriet Tubman, "Crazy Bet," and Belle Boyd (Civil War spies), and Amy Thorpe Pack and Ruth Kuczynski Beurton (World War II spies) are showcased. Pack, a British spy, was instrumental in obtaining the Vichy French's military code, while Beurton, the head of SONIA, was "the most damaging Soviet espionage ring to occupy Britain in WWII." This fun read targets middle and junior high readers with its bold colors, varied text styles, and asymmetrical text boxes. While the layout is fun and extremely colorful, it can be disorganized and difficult to follow. The text is also too colloquial at times, certainly aimed toward young readers of the MTV generation. This interesting, eclectic collection offers just enough information about each woman to spark an interest. It provides highlights of achievements and information on additional resources such as topical organizations, in-depth biographies, and informational Web sites. A good overview, this title will introduce readers to many heroines, both real and fictional, from around the world. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780965975407
  • Publisher: 17th Street Productions
  • Publication date: 11/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: IG1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.47 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One




They ruled their corner of the world in all-female tribes, controlling their land and scaring the daylights out of any man who tried to interfere.

    The original stories of Amazons come from Greek mythology—although there now is evidence that some version of this civilization really did exist. In any case, the very idea of Amazon warriors apparently had the Greeks scared silly. Greek authors wrote endlessly about the fierceness of these fighting women, and their stories are filled with images of ruthless Amazons raiding and pillaging their way through the ancient world.

    According to the Greeks, these tribes of warrior women lived around the Black Sea, and terrified just about anybody who came near their turf. The Amazons didn't mind pairing up with men from other cultures from time to time, but they had no interest in keeping them around. Nor did they mind having children: but true to the Amazon way, they only kept the girls, and sent the boys off to live with their fathers. The girls were trained to be true Amazons, and learned how to hunt, ride a horse, and, or course, do battle with the best of the warriors.

    One legend even has it that the only way for a girl to prove herself as a full-fledged Amazon was to kill her first enemy in battle.

    Hey—we never said they were saints.


OF COURSE! Xena (played by Lucy Lawless on T.V.) is theultimate Amazon. The show may not be true to the historical record, but Xena's warrior ways and independent lifestyle are straight out of the Amazon rulebook. For one thing, Xena is an expert in the ways of war and fierce in the martial arts. (Her favorite weapon is the "chakram"—kind of a fearsome boomerang that wreaks havoc on olden-day bad guys.) Xena's attitude toward men is also pure Amazon—she's willing to engage in an occasional flirtation, but has no interest in settling down. Xena prefers to hang with her Amazon sisters to get the job done.

Amazons, Amazons Everywhere

But the Greeks don't have a monopoly on the Amazon tall tale. Stories of warring female tribes pop up in narratives from all over the world. In Chinese mythology, writers described "the woman's kingdom," referring to a strange and abundant land where women ruled alone. Indian lore also refers to the rhackshasis—female warriors ruled by other women.

    For real-live Amazons, you should turn to South America in you history books. According to the Spanish explorers who first "discovered" the New World, warring women showed up just about everywhere they went.

    In Chile, the Spanish conquistadors told stories of Gaboimilla (Indian translation: "Heaven of Gold"), who was called the Queen of the Amazons in that region. Another explorer named Orellana complained of being attacked by an all-female army in Venezuela, and conquistador Pizarro wrote of the women warriors who killed many of his men during his travels throughout South America. In Peru, the land of the "puna" is well documented as a civilization of female tribes who retreated to the high plateaus of their land. (The puna regions today are still considered "women-only" territory.)

Josephine Baker


    Wild, dangerous kind of glamour that makes you want to run off to Paris and do something intoxicating and reckless. Maybe you'd scandalize Parisian nightclubs, or work for the French Resistance. In fact, checking those two tasks off your "to-do" list would only give you a glimpse of what it was like to walk in Josephine's sequined, stiletto heels.

    Not only did Josephine Baker break all the rules about feminine independence, but she exploded every idea about what a black woman could be by simply and elegantly refusing to recognize them. She was just too busy basking in international acclaim, entertaining dashing suitors, and even helping the French underground fight the Nazis.


"Tall, coffee skin, ebony eyes, legs of paradise, a smile to end all smiles." --Pablo Picasso

The French love affair with Josephine lasted for half a century, as she developed from a minor celebrity into a full-fledged national heroine after her work for the French Resistance in World War II. She was sickened by the treatment of blacks in the United States and boycotted America for the majority of her career. She returned to her homeland as an important spokesperson during the civil rights "March on Washington" in 1963, but would always consider Paris her real home. Her death in 1975 triggered an unprecedented national mourning, and she was given an elaborate state funeral—the first ever for a non-native French citizen.

Josephine's "to-do" list might have looked something like this

1. Get fancy job dancing with with chorus line in Chicago
with Ziegfield Follies in New York
racy nightclubs in Paris!
2. Be international <s>cabaret star</s> Film star — Zou-Zou
— Princess Tam-Tam
3. Become toast of Paris

Walk leopard down Champs-Elysee

4. Try daring spy work : Germany occupation French Air Force French Resistance 5. Win <s>Medal of Resistance</s> <s>French Legion of Honor</s>
6. Entertain dashing suitors. Marry the lucky ones. Willie
Willie Z
7. Live in exotic locales: Paris Morocco
Back to Paris
8. Stateside: Weigh in on civil rights nightmare '63 March on Washington "Her magnificent
dark body, a new model to
the French, proved for the first
time that black was beautiful."
--Janet Flanner
New Yorker correspondent
See Janet Flanner's profile at page 34
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Table of Contents

Introduction iii
Amazons 2
Josephine Baker 4
Lucille Ball 6
Baseball Barnstormers 8
Gertrude Bell 10
Blues Divas 12
Nellie Bly 14
Margaret Bourke-White 16
Calamity Jane 18
Maria Callas 20
Cleopatra 22
Comic Book Queens 24
Madame Curie 26
The Babe, Babe Didrikson 28
Nancy Drew 30
Amelia Earhart 32
Evita (Perón) 34
Janet Flanner 36
Althea Gibson 38
Cool Goddesses 40
JaneGoodall 42
Martha Graham 44
Harlem Renaissance Women 46
Hollywood Power Players 48
Isabella of Castille 50
Joan of Arc 52
Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi 54
Lozen, Apache Warrior 56
Mother Jones 58
Shirley Muldowney 60
Queen Njinga 62
Annie Oakley 64
Scarlett O'Hara 66
Georgia O'Keefe 68
Dorothy Parker 70
Lady Pirates 72
Righteous Queens 74
Rosie the Riveter 76
Lady Samurais 78
Margaret Sanger 80
Soldaderas 82
Soviet Flying Aces 84
Lady Spies 86
Suffragists 88
Harriet Tubman 90
Women Vikings 92
Madame C. J. Walker 94
The Fearless Flying W.A.S.P.s 96
Mae West 98
Wu Zhao 100
Resources/Credits 102
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