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Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It

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'Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read' - Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads 'This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlook 'Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read' - Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads 'This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlooked. Femina is essential reading' - Dan Jones, bestselling author of The Plantagenets and Powers and Thrones __________________ 'I am the fiery life of divine substance, I blaze above the beauty of the fields, I shine in the waters, I burn in sun, moon and stars' - Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) The middle ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings: a patriarchal society which oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the 'dark' ages were anything but. Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women's names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burnt, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated. Only now, through a careful examination of the artefacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women like Jadwiga, the only female King in Europe, Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety, and the Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England. See the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories.


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'Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read' - Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads 'This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlook 'Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read' - Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads 'This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlooked. Femina is essential reading' - Dan Jones, bestselling author of The Plantagenets and Powers and Thrones __________________ 'I am the fiery life of divine substance, I blaze above the beauty of the fields, I shine in the waters, I burn in sun, moon and stars' - Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) The middle ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings: a patriarchal society which oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the 'dark' ages were anything but. Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women's names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burnt, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated. Only now, through a careful examination of the artefacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women like Jadwiga, the only female King in Europe, Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety, and the Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England. See the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories.

37 review for Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leah (Is having a bookish breakdown)

    *Thank you so much to netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review.* One of my favourite genres is books centering forgotten female stories and figures, and this is exactly what Ramírez has written in Femina. As she puts it in the author's note, "I am not here to convince you that it is high time we put women at the centre of history. Many have already done that." And she is correct, because thousands of women have tried and for the most part, begun to succeed. What is n *Thank you so much to netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review.* One of my favourite genres is books centering forgotten female stories and figures, and this is exactly what Ramírez has written in Femina. As she puts it in the author's note, "I am not here to convince you that it is high time we put women at the centre of history. Many have already done that." And she is correct, because thousands of women have tried and for the most part, begun to succeed. What is necessary, rather, is that these women have their stories told and remembered. Femina examines case studies of women from throughout the early ages by analysing artifacts, providing contextual information and interspersing the text with vivid descriptions to bring the ancient women to life. In 9 chapters, Ramírez expertedly weaves an astounding narrative firmly explaining how, if not wrong, but distorted modern history truly is. The amount of male figures who simply wouldn't, or even didn't, accomplish what they've been credited without a woman's intervention for was ridiculous. It seems absurd that these powerful icons could just be forgotten. That's what really makes Femina stand out. A second reason for this is Femina gives a reason for this revisionist history we learn today. We all know WHO rewrote history (men) and WHAT they rewrote (anything featuring a powerful woman) but why? And how? Femina examines this point carefully. My only criticism would be that the book is heavily focused on central and western Europe, I think a broader scale would be great. From medieval queens, to Viking warriors, Ramírez truly does shine a light into the inner workings of the pre modern ages. I think this should be essential reading for anybody, of any age, learning history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seriesbooklover

    I couldn’t resist this book, particularly when it feels like the gains made by feminism are being eroded and this book highlights the amazing women of the middle-ages who have been wiped clean from the history books. I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion. This book is a passionate discussion of the role women played in the middle-ages and made me reassess my own assumption that women played no role except to marry and have children and had no voice. But as the author descr I couldn’t resist this book, particularly when it feels like the gains made by feminism are being eroded and this book highlights the amazing women of the middle-ages who have been wiped clean from the history books. I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion. This book is a passionate discussion of the role women played in the middle-ages and made me reassess my own assumption that women played no role except to marry and have children and had no voice. But as the author describes this is perhaps a Victorian concept. The author focuses on a few women – some known and some unknown- carefully presenting her evidence and explanation as to why these women were amazing. She starts with the unknown warrior woman found buried in Loftus, North Yorkshire buried with her weapons and the world’s continued disbelief that women could fight to Jadwiga, a powerful Monarch whose husband seemed to be remembered by history more than her. The author presents her facts in a highly enjoyable way, I never felt I was reading a boring old history book and at times it was like I was reading my favourite historical fiction. The book is never preachy and the author’s passion for the subject shines through. My only minor criticism ( and more than I wanted to read more) is that it focuses on European history and would have loved to read about more amazing women around the world. Perfect for anyone Who loves books on less described aspects of history and those who love a feminist twist in their history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter Willoughby

    Femina is a collection of thoroughly researched snippets of information where females were either left out of historical events of the Middle Ages altogether or their contribution was misunderstood. Janina Ramírez has developed techniques of prizing the information away from where it is hidden and bringing it into plain sight. I enjoyed the book although some information was of much more appeal than others, the real interest is that she has shown that with determination and hard work this informat Femina is a collection of thoroughly researched snippets of information where females were either left out of historical events of the Middle Ages altogether or their contribution was misunderstood. Janina Ramírez has developed techniques of prizing the information away from where it is hidden and bringing it into plain sight. I enjoyed the book although some information was of much more appeal than others, the real interest is that she has shown that with determination and hard work this information can be found. As she works in the closer past, as I hope that she will, information will be easier to find and more doors will be opened and myths quashed. Well done Janina, thank you for an interesting read, and good luck in your future quests. My thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy for honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Afsara

    Thank you to NetGalley and Ebury Publishing + Penguin Random House for providing me with an ARC to review. I DNF’d this book. While the essay/thesis style of writing was refreshing to read, non-fiction just isn’t for me. I rated it 3 stars because I can see why people who do enjoy non-fic, would enjoy this book. The topics were interesting albeit a little jumbled/disorganised and the addition of diagrams, photos and other images was nice to have to break up the otherwise lengthy passages of texts Thank you to NetGalley and Ebury Publishing + Penguin Random House for providing me with an ARC to review. I DNF’d this book. While the essay/thesis style of writing was refreshing to read, non-fiction just isn’t for me. I rated it 3 stars because I can see why people who do enjoy non-fic, would enjoy this book. The topics were interesting albeit a little jumbled/disorganised and the addition of diagrams, photos and other images was nice to have to break up the otherwise lengthy passages of texts. The unique use of women from history who aren’t well known really makes this book standout from other non-fic texts on the same topic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  6. 4 out of 5

    Felicitas

  7. 5 out of 5

    Antony De Rienzo

  8. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

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    Caoileann

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    Fe

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    Amy

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    Melissa

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    Rebecca

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    Selin Apaydin

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    Oliver

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    Lissa

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    Remy

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    Julia

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    Hannah

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    Charolotte

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    Ginny Dawe-Woodings

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    Hannah Hethmon

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    Cassandra Korte

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    Jo Walker

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    Raphaela Quass

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gramaryen49

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paloma

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sophie (RedheadReading)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lori Butt

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

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    Emrys

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    Beth Winegarner

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    James Harrison

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    Lindsay

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    Whitney

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    Tammi

  37. 5 out of 5

    Aline Douma

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