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The War Queens: Extraordinary Women who Ruled the Battlefield

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In gripping, cinematic detail, father-daughter duo Jonathan and Emily Jordan uncover the ingenious wartime tactics of some of history’s most powerful female leaders across millennia and continents, from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands. History’s killer queens come in all colors, ages, and leadership styles. Elizabeth In gripping, cinematic detail, father-daughter duo Jonathan and Emily Jordan uncover the ingenious wartime tactics of some of history’s most powerful female leaders across millennia and continents, from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands. History’s killer queens come in all colors, ages, and leadership styles. Elizabeth Tudor and Golda Meir played the roles of high-stakes gamblers who studied maps with an unblinking, calculating eye. Angola’s Queen Njinga, possessing limited resources but unmatched ferocity, was willing to shed (and occasionally drink) blood to establish a stable kingdom in an Africa ravaged by the colonial slave trade. Caterina Sforza defended her Italian holdings with cannon and scimitar, and Indira Gandhi launched a war to solve a refugee crisis. From ancient Persia to modern-day Britain, the daunting thresholds these exceptional women had to cross—and the clever, sometimes violent ways in which they overcame them—are evoked in vivid detail by Jonathan and Emily Jordan. This gripping narrative sidles up to each war queen in the most dire, tumultuous moments of their reigns and examines the deft, brilliant methods and maneuvers they each used to defend themselves and their constituents from enemy forces. In the end, we come away with a new awareness of the resilient, extraordinary power and potential of women in history who walked through war’s kiln and emerged from the other side—some burnished to greatness, others burned to cinders, all of them legends.


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In gripping, cinematic detail, father-daughter duo Jonathan and Emily Jordan uncover the ingenious wartime tactics of some of history’s most powerful female leaders across millennia and continents, from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands. History’s killer queens come in all colors, ages, and leadership styles. Elizabeth In gripping, cinematic detail, father-daughter duo Jonathan and Emily Jordan uncover the ingenious wartime tactics of some of history’s most powerful female leaders across millennia and continents, from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands. History’s killer queens come in all colors, ages, and leadership styles. Elizabeth Tudor and Golda Meir played the roles of high-stakes gamblers who studied maps with an unblinking, calculating eye. Angola’s Queen Njinga, possessing limited resources but unmatched ferocity, was willing to shed (and occasionally drink) blood to establish a stable kingdom in an Africa ravaged by the colonial slave trade. Caterina Sforza defended her Italian holdings with cannon and scimitar, and Indira Gandhi launched a war to solve a refugee crisis. From ancient Persia to modern-day Britain, the daunting thresholds these exceptional women had to cross—and the clever, sometimes violent ways in which they overcame them—are evoked in vivid detail by Jonathan and Emily Jordan. This gripping narrative sidles up to each war queen in the most dire, tumultuous moments of their reigns and examines the deft, brilliant methods and maneuvers they each used to defend themselves and their constituents from enemy forces. In the end, we come away with a new awareness of the resilient, extraordinary power and potential of women in history who walked through war’s kiln and emerged from the other side—some burnished to greatness, others burned to cinders, all of them legends.

30 review for The War Queens: Extraordinary Women who Ruled the Battlefield

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest History can be dull as dishwater, so I'm always impressed when an author can bring the dead to life-- no, not using necromancy, but their "skillz" as a writer. I can guarantee that some people are probably going to take issue with the breathless, sensationalist way that this is written, but I found it incredibly entertaining. I actually hate nonfiction that is too dry, and as long as you're not muddling the facts, you can be as silly in Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest History can be dull as dishwater, so I'm always impressed when an author can bring the dead to life-- no, not using necromancy, but their "skillz" as a writer. I can guarantee that some people are probably going to take issue with the breathless, sensationalist way that this is written, but I found it incredibly entertaining. I actually hate nonfiction that is too dry, and as long as you're not muddling the facts, you can be as silly in the narrative as you want. THE WAR QUEENS is a collection of mini biographies about queens and political rulers who were involved in major coups throughout history. Some of them might be familiar to you, like Cleopatra, Margaret Thatcher (not really a queen, but OK), and Queen Elizabeth I, but there were a couple new ones to me, like Tomyris of the Massagetae (part of the Persian Empire), which was some pretty hardcore stuff-- and then there was Caterina Sforza's "I give literally zero forks" shenanigans of the Italian Renaissance which was like something out of Game of Thrones. Oh, and the African Queen, Njinga, who was my favorite, because she literally did not care who or what she had to defeat to gain success. One thing I really liked about this book is that it wasn't limited to queens of the Western world-- there were Queens from the Persian Empire, Queens from Asia, Queens from Africa, and yes, of course, Queens from Europe. All of them were interesting in their own way (except maybe Margaret Thatcher-- I really don't like her, and she's not a queen, so she doesn't even go here). I think if you're interested in history but wish it was a little less male-centric, this is a really eye-opening piece to learn more about some pretty fascinating kick-butt women dating from ancient to modern times. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3.5 to 4 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    GREAT SUBJECT THAT DESERVES EVEN MORE ATTENTION! I wrote my master's thesis in history about medieval English queenship, so this book was right up my alley - I love strong female figures and the Middle Ages has delivered its fair share of them! This book, however, dealt with more than just medieval queens - it even dealt with women that weren't even queen - and that really taught me something new. However, there were some flaws to this book that dragged it down slightly in my opinion. 👍 WHAT I LIK GREAT SUBJECT THAT DESERVES EVEN MORE ATTENTION! I wrote my master's thesis in history about medieval English queenship, so this book was right up my alley - I love strong female figures and the Middle Ages has delivered its fair share of them! This book, however, dealt with more than just medieval queens - it even dealt with women that weren't even queen - and that really taught me something new. However, there were some flaws to this book that dragged it down slightly in my opinion. 👍 WHAT I LIKED 👍 Humorous: History is not boring! This book really showed how surprisingly fun history can be when it is conveyed and written right. Jordan did a wonderful job making these women and their stories come alive with humour and wit. Variety: Many authors/historians have a tendency to be Eurocentric. I really liked that Jordan branched out and included African and Asian queens as well. That really gave me a lot of new information. 👎 WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE 👎 Length: It annoyed me quite a bit that some women had veeeery long biographies, while other had noticeably shorter ones. It was quite obvious that the more 'famous' queens such as Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great had longer chapters than the other lesser known queens. Lesser known: While I'm on the subject, I really wished there had been more lesser known women. Maybe some South American, some Chinese, some Eastern European and so on. The famous women took up to much space in my opinion. Modern 'queens': This is perhaps just me being a stickler for accuracy, but it actually really bothered me that this book is named War Queens when some of the subjects weren't even queens... sure, they were heads of states, but they weren't queens. Two different things! ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    "It was a women's war--and the woman in her won." As a historian by trade, it is a special treat to be able to review a historical nonfiction book before it is published. I'm fascinated by Women's history and the way history has forgotten the fierce women of the past, and The War Queens delightfully brings these women back from the fringe of history men delegated them to. Based on primary sources, The War Queens brings to life the warrior women of the past over a period of 2500 years. These wome "It was a women's war--and the woman in her won." As a historian by trade, it is a special treat to be able to review a historical nonfiction book before it is published. I'm fascinated by Women's history and the way history has forgotten the fierce women of the past, and The War Queens delightfully brings these women back from the fringe of history men delegated them to. Based on primary sources, The War Queens brings to life the warrior women of the past over a period of 2500 years. These women came from all over the world and waged war with varying levels of success, but they did so in a world where men sought to take power from them. Some are well-known, others are more obscure. Some were beloved, others reviled. All were important. In particular, I really appreciated how the authors shined a spotlight on ancient and non-Western women who were significant in history. That is a valuable addition to the literature on this topic. My only criticism was that were some notable women left out, but I understand that not all can be covered. I enjoyed War Queens and think it is the perfect non-fiction read for Women's History Month.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex Kershaw

    Hugely enjoyable and very well written.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melisende

    I will preface this by saying that I read this around the same time as "Sisters In Arms" by Julie Wheelwright; and as with that tome, I - personally - was left wanting a little more. Mayhap because I was already familiar with the women featured (Tomyris, Artmeisia, Boudicca, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, Caterina Sforza, Tamar of Georgie, Catherine the Great - to name but a few) that I was looking for a bit more variety - maybe, someone not on anyone's top ten list. What I will say is that each woman f I will preface this by saying that I read this around the same time as "Sisters In Arms" by Julie Wheelwright; and as with that tome, I - personally - was left wanting a little more. Mayhap because I was already familiar with the women featured (Tomyris, Artmeisia, Boudicca, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, Caterina Sforza, Tamar of Georgie, Catherine the Great - to name but a few) that I was looking for a bit more variety - maybe, someone not on anyone's top ten list. What I will say is that each woman featured has her own story to tell and it is told well, with some background information and a focus on the well known battles in which their are noted for (these are are explained quite well for the lay-reader). One reviewer commented that Maggie Thatcher should not have been included as she wasn't a "queen" per se - well neither was Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir or Caterina Sforza for that matter. There are many more example of women who could have been included (Empress Matilda and her rival Matilda of Boulogne, Zenobia, Isabella of Castile, Rani of Jhansi, Amanitore of Nubia, even Katherine of Aragon) for whilst many did take to the battlefield, they were also strongly supported by seasoned military commanders - and I was particularly struck by the quote from Gen. George Patton: "... tactics .. belong at battalion level, not in the supreme commander's palace ..." - a sly reference to the fact that a good leader need not always be required to know everything military-wise. The extensive bibliography, secondary sources, and notes will provide those with an interest the stepping stones for explore and research at their leisure.

  6. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    So, you've likely heard of many (if not most) of these women and you likely think you already know their stories. Like what more can you possibly learn about Cleopatra, right? Um...wrong. This isn't one of your staid academic history tomes. This spills the tea. Really...we have all the gossip, all the scandals, all the salacious details. This is history - good parts only! These woman were bold, violent, clever - and they did anything and everything to protect what was theirs. Seriously fun reading. So, you've likely heard of many (if not most) of these women and you likely think you already know their stories. Like what more can you possibly learn about Cleopatra, right? Um...wrong. This isn't one of your staid academic history tomes. This spills the tea. Really...we have all the gossip, all the scandals, all the salacious details. This is history - good parts only! These woman were bold, violent, clever - and they did anything and everything to protect what was theirs. Seriously fun reading. And inspiring - though maybe in all the wrong ways!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mariel Matranga

    I think this is a great book. It has poise, just as much as it is blunt, and unrelenting in its depiction of historical accounts. It is well written. I find that in reading this; there are many things the history books we had in school left out. I would surely recommend this book to others to read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I received a kindle copy from the goodread's giveaway. wow. I never realized how many powerful women there have been over time that have made decisions during times of war. This book spans from about 300 B.C. the modern time. This book writes of Queens and other women of power. Many I have heard of like. Cleopatra, Elizabeth the first, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher. and Indira Gandhi, but there so many other strong women who were right there with the men making strategic decisions, some over man I received a kindle copy from the goodread's giveaway. wow. I never realized how many powerful women there have been over time that have made decisions during times of war. This book spans from about 300 B.C. the modern time. This book writes of Queens and other women of power. Many I have heard of like. Cleopatra, Elizabeth the first, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher. and Indira Gandhi, but there so many other strong women who were right there with the men making strategic decisions, some over many years. I had never heard of Catarina Sforza who married very young and had to protect her children from being murdered and fought right back. Nice to read about strong women.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucsbooks

    I don’t often read historical biographies but this was a really enjoyable read. The women discussed in this book lived in completely different times, led completely different lives and came from completely different places and that alone made me like it because I’m glad it wasn’t just about European noblewomen. The book reads easily as a short story collection and if you like to read about history, powerful women, war and military strategy then this is a perfect read. I particularly enjoyed the fir I don’t often read historical biographies but this was a really enjoyable read. The women discussed in this book lived in completely different times, led completely different lives and came from completely different places and that alone made me like it because I’m glad it wasn’t just about European noblewomen. The book reads easily as a short story collection and if you like to read about history, powerful women, war and military strategy then this is a perfect read. I particularly enjoyed the first part of the book about women such as Tamar of Georgia, Artemisia of Caria or Cleopatra but my absolute favorite was Queen Tomyris of Massagetai. I also really loved that "The Female of the Species" poem was used across the book. Thank you to Diversion and Edelweiss+ for this DRC

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Lennek

    A must -read for military history readers The authors give a well researched, nuanced presentation of 10 women "queens of battle." Complete with references and footnotes , each woman leader is presented in their own chapter. Easy to read, all fathers should give this book to their teenaged daughters. A must -read for military history readers The authors give a well researched, nuanced presentation of 10 women "queens of battle." Complete with references and footnotes , each woman leader is presented in their own chapter. Easy to read, all fathers should give this book to their teenaged daughters.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    This book took a bit longer to read than I anticipated; because, it was so well-written and I truly wanted to benefit from the research provided. The authors (Jordan & Jordan) are gifted story-tellers who bring the characters alive with humor, sarcasm and incredible detail. At times, it felt more like doing research; but, incredibly enlightening. I applaud their approach to analyzing women as military leaders in history. Somehow, having come of age during the fight for ERA, I thought the conclus This book took a bit longer to read than I anticipated; because, it was so well-written and I truly wanted to benefit from the research provided. The authors (Jordan & Jordan) are gifted story-tellers who bring the characters alive with humor, sarcasm and incredible detail. At times, it felt more like doing research; but, incredibly enlightening. I applaud their approach to analyzing women as military leaders in history. Somehow, having come of age during the fight for ERA, I thought the conclusion would be much more inspiring. Instead, it felt like a token concession to having been in the right place at the right time and finding no one else to do what needed done, they stepped up and did it. The book outlines what it takes to be a successful leader during conflict and these women figured it out for better or worse. It felt less an homage to overcoming prejudices and more about happenstance. The ending came much too soon and was a bit weak in summarizing the objectives of what these women had in common. Somehow, I expected something more. I definitely wanted to know why these particular women were chosen. There didn't seem to be much of a common denominator other than they were women and fought wars. All in all, though, this is an excellent book and a great way to learn about epochs in history and how women were perceived by their contemporaries.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I was fairly satisfied in what I learned from the book. Most likely the lack of information on some of the women featured has to do with a lack of sources, but I appreciated the effort to finding out these stories and spelling them out in a fun way where I learned history and was entertained. I agree with a comment I found in the reviews that I wish there were more women from more regions and that the well known women has been given less space so that a rich diversity could take place. However, I I was fairly satisfied in what I learned from the book. Most likely the lack of information on some of the women featured has to do with a lack of sources, but I appreciated the effort to finding out these stories and spelling them out in a fun way where I learned history and was entertained. I agree with a comment I found in the reviews that I wish there were more women from more regions and that the well known women has been given less space so that a rich diversity could take place. However, I would read this again to review the tactics and efforts of these historical leaders.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patsy Hennessey

    This was an interesting book that introduced me to historical figures that I didn't already know about and told me more about some I did. I would have enjoyed this book more if it had focused more on these fascinating women and their lives and less on quite long, detailed descriptions of specific battles. This was an interesting book that introduced me to historical figures that I didn't already know about and told me more about some I did. I would have enjoyed this book more if it had focused more on these fascinating women and their lives and less on quite long, detailed descriptions of specific battles.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

    This week has been such a wild ride I forgotten to review the book, but I can say this book was amazing. I learned so much about women through history, and the writing had some funny sideways I wasn't expecting for a non-fiction book. You can definitely tell a lot of love (and research) went into this book. This week has been such a wild ride I forgotten to review the book, but I can say this book was amazing. I learned so much about women through history, and the writing had some funny sideways I wasn't expecting for a non-fiction book. You can definitely tell a lot of love (and research) went into this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Ayana

    Walaupun karakter yang diambil gak terlalu banyak tapi rata2 badass dan berpengalaman menghadapi perang. Cara berceritanya simple, informatif tapi gak berkesan menggurui. Walau foto ilustrasinya dikit tapi cukuplah buat tahu latar belakang masing2 war queen ini.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat Byrde

    This book was very enjoyable. A brief overview of some of the world's greatest women who led countries through war, whether successfully or not. This book was very enjoyable. A brief overview of some of the world's greatest women who led countries through war, whether successfully or not.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Gilder

    Does what it says on the tin. Informative, good length and a good entry level introduction to each woman.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Greg Selvitelli

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate Van Haren

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rona Simmons

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sirena

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin Jay

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lara Peterson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emrys

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joe Stewart

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

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