Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women [NOOK Book]


Throughout history women have caused wars, defied the rules, and brought men to their knees. The famous and the infamous, queens, divorcées, actresses, and outlaws have created a ruckus during their lifetimes-turning heads while making waves. Scandalous Women tells the stories of the risk takers who have flouted convention, beaten the odds, and determined the course of world events.

*When Cleopatra (69 BC-30 BC) wasn't bathing in asses' milk,...
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Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women

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Throughout history women have caused wars, defied the rules, and brought men to their knees. The famous and the infamous, queens, divorcées, actresses, and outlaws have created a ruckus during their lifetimes-turning heads while making waves. Scandalous Women tells the stories of the risk takers who have flouted convention, beaten the odds, and determined the course of world events.

*When Cleopatra (69 BC-30 BC) wasn't bathing in asses' milk, the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and forged an important political alliance with Rome against her enemies-until her dalliance with Marc Antony turned the empire against her.
*Emilie du Châtelet (1706-1748), a mathematician, physicist, author, and paramour of one of the greatest minds in France, Voltaire, shocked society with her unorthodox lifestyle and intellectual prowess-and became a leader in the study of theoretical physics in France at a time when the sciences were ruled by men.
*Long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1928) fought to end discrimination and the terrible crime of lynching and helped found the NAACP, but became known as a difficult woman for her refusal to compromise and was largely lost in the annals of history.
*Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) had a passion for archaeology and languages, and left her privileged world behind to become one of the foremost chroniclers of British imperialism in the Middle East, and one of the architects of the modern nation of Iraq.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From its opening sentence-"Scandalous Women isn't history, it's herstory," Mahon sets a tone of whimsical accessibility that will be appealing to some and repellent to others. Most of the historical women covered here are discussed largely in the context of the men in their lives, from Anne Boleyn to Frida Kahlo to the brilliant mathematician and physicist Émilie du Chatelet, who is first identified as "Voltaire's mistress." The book's blog-beginnings reveal themselves most in tone; few will mistake this for serious history. Eleanor of Aquitaine's accomplishments are described as "not bad for a broad in her seventies"; F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are called "the Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag of the Jazz Age." This is Feminist History for Dummies, with a snappy no-frills style that allows the author to cover ground and bring in lesser-known females like Carry Nation, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1900, who busted bars to bits with an axe and inspired others to do the same. As a crash course in women's history, readers could do worse.
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From the Publisher
While many of the facts surrounding these lives are familiar, Mahon weaves page-turner narratives from her passion and affection for these spectacular but often misrepresented women.—-Bookpage

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon's Scandalous Women is an invaluable resource of women's studies, pulling back the curtain of embellishment (often woven by the woman being studied herself) to reveal the stark (sometimes literally!) truth behind some of the greatest women of history — from ancient pillars like Cleopatra and Boudica to more contemporary glass-ceiling shatterers like Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell. Perhaps the best I can say is that Elizabeth Kerri Mahon's work is a magnet for the mind, an education for the misinformed, and scandalously delicious. Very recommended.—-The Trades

There are sexual shenanigans here, to be sure, but also plenty of wonderful portraits of women responsible for major events in history – whether directly or through the men who, thinking themselves the controllers, were in fact the ones being controlled.—-InfoDad

Overall, history lite—a very readable flyby of some notables in women’s history.
—-Bethany Latham, Historical Novel Society

I was entranced by Scandalous Women from page one, and it didn’t let lose its hold on me until I had reached the end . . . If you are looking for entertainment as well as facts that will turn many of your preconceived notions inside out, then this is the book for you. Ms. Mahon has done a wonderful job telling the stories of important women throughout history.
—-Book Wenches

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101478813
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 149,725
  • File size: 1,009 KB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon is a professional actress and amateur history geek. Her blog Scandalous Women ( was named one of the 100 Best Blogs for History Junkies. A native New Yorker, she still calls Manhattan home.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A scandalously wonderful book of biographies

    Scandalous Women (The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women)
    Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    Scandalous Women is a delightful book containing the biographies of some of the most fascinating women of history. Keeping true to the title and subtitle, the stories within this book's pages kept me entertained for hours.

    As soon as I flipped open the book and read the table of contents, I was immediately intrigued. The book is divided into seven categories:
    Warrior Queens
    Wayward Wives
    Scintillating Seductresses
    Crusading Ladies
    Wild Women of the West
    Amorous Artists
    Amazing Adventuresses

    The chapter titles alone beckoned me to read further. And I was not disappointed. Within each of these chapters, the bios of 35 different women were beautifully written - full of detail, not too long, and told in a quippy voice that kept me entertained from start to finish. Her use of humour is what made these bios stand out from the realm of other similar books on the market. Some women, like Cleopatra and Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was well acquainted with. But there were numerous others, lesser known female heroines in the annals of history, whose lives were revealed to me for the very first time like Lady Caroline Lamb, Rose Greenhow, and Frida Kahlo.

    Each biography gave a full and detailed accounting of their lives without being tedious or boring to read. In fact, the opposite is true. The more I read, the more I wanted to learn about the next woman, and the next woman, and the woman after that. It is evident that Elizabeth Kerri Mahon knows her topic well and spent a great deal of time researching each life. In this way, she was able to bring lesser known details about their lives to the forefront.

    For those of you who are avid bloggers and blog followers, you might be already well familiar with Elizabeth's work. She is the owner of the blog Scandalous Women. Her blog has delighted me for years now and I'm an avid reader, as I know she is of my blog too.
    This book is one I highly recommend. Present it as a gift to a fascinating woman in your life for Mother's Day, an upcoming birthday, or Christmas.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Scandalous Women...who says?

    Women rule!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Kind of Book I Love

    Scan­dalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Noto­ri­ous Women" by Eliz­a­beth Kerri Mahon is a non-fiction book ded­i­cated to... scan­dalous women. Each woman is fea­tured in a short bio­graph­i­cal chap­ter.

    The book is divided into seven sec­tions. Each sec­tion is fur­ther divided into short chap­ters fea­tur­ing a short biog­ra­phy of a scan­dalous woman.

    Sec­tion 1: War­rior Queens
    Cleopa­tra, Boudica, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Grace O'Malley

    Sec­tion 2: Way­ward Wives
    Émilie du Châtelet, Lady Car­o­line Lamb, Jane Digby, Vio­let Tre­fu­sis, Zelda Fitzgerald

    Sec­tion 3: Scin­til­lat­ing Seduc­tresses
    Anne Boleyn, Bar­bara Palmer, Emma Hamil­ton, Lola Mon­tez, Mata hari

    Sec­tion 4: Cru­sad­ing Ladies
    Anne Hutchin­son, Mary Woll­stonecraft, Rose O'Neal Green­how, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Carry Nation

    Sec­tion 5: Wild Women of the West
    Mary Ellen Pleas­ant, Sarah Win­nemucca, Calamity Jane, Eliz­a­beth "Baby Doe" Tabor, Mar­garet Tobin Brown

    Sec­tion 6: Amorous Artists
    Camille Claudel, Isadora Dun­can, Josephine Baker, Bil­lie Hol­i­day, Frida Kahlo

    Sec­tion 7: Amaz­ing Adven­turesses
    Anne Bon­ney and Mary Read, Lady Hes­ter Stan­hope, Anna Leonowens, Gertrude Bell, Amelia Earhart

    So you're think­ing :"what is a book­ish blog run by a man doing with this book"?
    I'll tell you: it is knowl­edge not uncom­mon that scan­dalous women (most of them any­way) are a favorite sub­ject among men of many cul­tures and intel­lects - that's what!

    "Scan­dalous Women" by Eliz­a­beth Kerri Mahon is the kind of book I loved as a young boy. No, not because of the scan­dalous women, that would come later, but because I always found this for­mat of books fas­ci­nat­ing and inter­est­ing. These type of short biogra­phies allow me to know about each per­son and if I want, to research more about them.

    Even though I read through this book, it is a book you can just pick up and read, then put down and pick up again a few days later since the chap­ters are short and are not related to one another. The book is also a must if you ever want to be on "Jeopardy".

    Ms. Mahon's writ­ing is suc­cinct and she con­cen­trates on the aspect of what made her sub­ject so scan­dalous. Just keep in mind that the word "scan­dalous" is in con­text of the time those women lived in. while in today's stan­dards they might seem tame, in their life­time they cer­tainly weren't.

    Each chap­ter is easy to read and high­lights the achieve­ments and promi­nence of each woman. While the book is by no means a com­pre­hen­sive biog­ra­phy of its sub­jects, nor does it claim to be, it is a won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to many his­tor­i­cal figures.

    A spe­cial note to the won­der­ful sec­tion head­ings (Scin­til­lat­ing Seduc­tresses, Amorous Artists, etc.) - that'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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