Despite the very substantial and continuing interest in women's issues in Christianity and the ceaseless stream of publications for, by, and about Christian women, there has been astonishingly little about the early generations of female ascetics the Ammas of the desert. Swan's fine accessible and scholarly work here should help to repair that lack. She includes not only a good overview of the ascetic background but also a fresh translation and commentary on the Ammas' known sayings, an account of lesser-known Ammas, and a calendar of feasts for the Ammas. An excellent starting-place for the study of women in religion, women in the Church, and asceticism, this is highly recommended. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.